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If I get paid biweekly, but missed a pay period, so get a check for four weeks instead, should not my net simply be double what I normally get for 2 weeks? They increased my tax deductions, so that my pay is less than what it normally would be if I divide the 4 week check in half. I worked the same number of hours every week.

  • Could someone explain what “missing a pay period” mean? Aren’t money sent via bank; how can someone “not” receive the money? – Kyslik Jul 5 '18 at 23:37
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    @Kyslik: In many companies timesheets have to go through an approval process such as being certified for accuracy by a supervisor. If the person responsible for doing that gets sick, goes on vacation, or whatever, it's possible for the processing to spill into the next period. – Ben Voigt Jul 6 '18 at 2:59
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Your reasoning is sound, and you are correct. What most likely happened is that they withheld as if you earned all that within one pay period. That could be someone on the payroll end not doing the calculation correctly, or not knowing how to override the default pay-period calculation, or an inflexible payroll software that doesn't allow for exceptions like that.

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    Note though that whatever the reason was, it will be rectified for sure in your tax filing next year. Unless you don't want to wait for that, and start a discussion with Payroll. – Aganju Jul 5 '18 at 19:01
  • I was told by a previous employer's accountant/payroll that companies are required to tax you at the rate as if that was your regular paycheck. It's one of the tools the IRS uses to help ensure people aren't avoiding taxes. – Chris G Jul 6 '18 at 0:00
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    @ChrisG I believe they are required to tax you as if you'll earn the same amount all year, but I don't think that means they have to over-withholding on back-pay. Probably easier to mush it all into one pay period though. – Hart CO Jul 6 '18 at 0:14
  • The way withholding (usually) works in the UK is: Month 1 - multiply pay by 12/1, calculate annual tax, divide by 12/1, withhold that much. Month 2 - multiply total pay (from month 1 and month 2) by 12/2, calculate annual tax, divide by 12/2, subtract tax already withheld, withhold the result .... and so on. Basically, at any point, they calculate how much you should pay in total, subtract what you've already paid, and withhold the difference. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jul 6 '18 at 7:44
  • @MartinBonner: in US the default is to extrapolate each pay period separately (except that non-regular pay such as bonuses, overtime, back pay etc may be separated and withheld at a fixed, non-bracketed percentage), but if both employer and employee agree they can use the method you describe; see 'cumulative wages' (method) in pub 15A – dave_thompson_085 Jul 6 '18 at 11:58

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