My employer screwed up my tax withholding on my paycheck
January 11, 2016 8:22 PM   Subscribe

I've been at my job for six months and I just noticed on my paycheck I'm marked as "single" for CA state taxes withholding. I'm married and had submitted a state tax form stating such when I was first hired. Obviously, it fell into a black hole. What do I do?

Stupid, I know. I should have looked at my pay stubs more carefully. The comfort of direct deposit.

Anyway, I'm hoping to sort this out with my HR dept but is this going to complicate things this tax filing season?
posted by bondgirl53001 to Work & Money (10 answers total)
They withheld too much, right? You'll just get a bigger refund, or owe less than you would have it they had done it correctly. Just make sure you file accurately. If you are getting a refund, file early and enjoy it.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:28 PM on January 11, 2016 [11 favorites]

Nothing really fix it, pay your taxes when they're due and move on.

There's no real recourse here. You're not ultimately paying extra or less in taxes, you just have the inconvenience of having to pay out of pocket now (or on 4/15) instead of having your taxes deducted from your pay. Hopefully its not that bad but remember this just means you've had more money in your pocket the last 6 months.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:29 PM on January 11, 2016

To answer "I'm hoping to sort this out with my HR dept but is this going to complicate things this tax filing season?" explicitly

No. Your taxes withheld is always a "guess" as to what you're going to owe at the end of the year. Most folks like to have the gov't withhold too much as opposed to too little and get a refund at the end of the year as opposed to paying taxes at tax time. But nothing is screwed up here. Once your tax bill is calculated your preparer will look at the amount you owe, and if you've paid too much you'll file and get a refund. If you've paid too little you'll have to pay to even things out.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:33 PM on January 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

I always set my W2 to single, because my spouse and I both have significant income, and if I list myself as married I end up writing a big check to the feds.
posted by yarntheory at 8:36 PM on January 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

File your taxes sooner than later; if you end up owing, you can start making payments without penalty ASAP. Any money owed after 4/15 (whether or not you file for a filing-extension for some reason) will be penalized.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:02 PM on January 11, 2016

Yeah, lots of married people ask to have taxes withheld at the higher single rate so they don't owe at tax time. You're fine.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:10 PM on January 11, 2016

Nthing my husband and I have taxes withheld at the single rate.
posted by amro at 1:08 AM on January 12, 2016

I withhold at the single rate, this means more money going to the government. If I over estimated, no biggie I get a refund. Mostly though, it's a push.

I wouldn't even make a change to my forms. Just keep on keeping on.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:35 AM on January 12, 2016

Try to estimate your tax liability and get properly withheld in dollars. Too much = you lending to government at zero interest, too little = you pay interest and sometimes penalties.
posted by MattD at 5:01 AM on January 12, 2016

To fix it, just talk to HR. You'll probably end up filing a new W-4 or whatever the CA state equivalent of that is. That will change the amount withheld going forward.

As mentioned above, you might want to wait until completing 2015 taxes before making this change. If the amount withheld was about right for 2015, you might just want to leave it be. If quite a bit too much is being withheld for your CA taxes, then you can change to "married" and see if that amount is closer to the right level of withholding for you.
posted by flug at 6:40 AM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

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