Tax Planning/w-4 adjustment


Hi Owen:

  I have not filed as single in 26 years and am now having to fill out my W-4 and want to keep my refund amount to about $200.00 to $300.00. I work part time and make about $14,900 per year and am paid every two weeks, what should be the amount of fit being taken out of each check to insure that I don't end up owing or get too much back. I have used some online calculators but I keep getting different answers from each one and that only confused me more. Thanks in advance for your help.

Larry - Tax pros usually have more sophisticated software to analyze your situation, but the IRS W-4 calculator can do a pretty decent job if you have a reasonably good estimate of what your income situation will be.  

You can find that calculator here ->

However, on a very rudimentary level, if you indeed make about $15,000 per year and make no other money, it is fairly straightforward.  You have approximately $9,000 that can be deducted from your gross income that will represent your standard deduction and personal exemption.  That leaves about $6,000 in taxable income, which would result in a tax of about $600, since you fall in the 10% tax bracket.

Therefore, being paid every two weeks, there are 26 pay periods.  Using those numbers, you should have about $25 in taxes withheld and you should come out about even or with a small refund.

I hope this helps.

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As an Enrolled Agent, I am fully capable of providing tax advice as it relates to personal and business income taxes. Enrolled Agents are the only Federally licensed tax practitioners and are admitted to practice before all administrative functions of the IRS. My specialty is working with small business owners who file Schedule "C" and helping them to structure their business in such a way as to maximize as many tax advantages as possible. I also enjoy working with individuals who have both routine as well as complex tax situations. I prefer to concentrate on individuals and small business tax planning.


I have a 25 year background in financial services including tax, bookkeeping, insurance, real estate and securities. I was previously the Chief Financial Officer of a local and national franchise organization. I am currently semi-retired, but used to own (in partnership with another EA) an individual and small business financial engineering firm where I work with nearly 2,500 individuals and small business owners in nearly every state and almost every continent, assisting them in all aspects of their tax and financial well-being. I have prepared or reviewed more than 8,000 tax returns in my career.

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Enrolled Agent, Admitted to Practice Before the IRS, Accredited Tax Preparer, Fellow of National Tax Practice Institute, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor (1999-2011), Sleeter Group Certified QuickBooks Consultant, Life & Disability Insurance Agent License (California, Texas, Maine), Real Estate Agent License (California); Many years of continuing education in all these fields.

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