How to Use a W-2 Calculator

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The Internal Revenue Service’s Withholding Calculator helps you determine the number of exemptions you should list on the W-4 form you complete for your employer. The number of exemptions you select determines how much your employer will withhold from your paycheck for taxes. It’s important to determine the correct number of exemptions so that you don’t end up owing a lot of money at tax time.

Get Ready

The W-2 calculator asks questions about how much money you and your spouse earn, so copies of your most recent pay stubs help you complete this portion of the questionnaire. A copy of your previous year’s tax return can also supply useful information, though you don’t have to have any of these documents to use the calculator.

Answer the Questions

The W-2 calculator asks a series of questions to help determine your tax situation. Complete each question to the best of your ability. You’ll need to estimate the amount of money you anticipate you will earn in the current tax year. If you are married and your spouse also works, you’ll need information about his or her earnings as well. Other questions concern how many dependents you can claim on your tax return and whether or not you qualify for tax credits for things such as child care and retirement contributions. When you’ve completed all the questions, the calculator will determine the number of exemptions you should list on your W-4 form.