There are a lot of different philosophies about income tax withholding. Some people challenge themselves to get their withholding close to their actual tax liability, so that they don’t get a big refund or have a big tax bill. Others prefer to have too much taken out during the year, because it means a big refund. A third group attempts to withhold just enough to keep themselves out of trouble and would rather have to make a large additional payment at the end of the year.
If you are in the popular “get a big refund” group, you may want to rethink your plans. The IRS has announced that refunds will take longer in 2017, with many refunds held until 15 February, due to changes in the law. In particular, those claiming the Earned Income Credit will not have their tax returns processed quite as quickly as they were filed in the past.
What does this mean for you? If you’re used to filing your federal income tax return in late January, and receiving a refund quickly, that probably isn’t going to happen next year.
Another way to get that same money, but on a different schedule, is to have less money withheld from your income during the year. You can instruct your employer to withhold less money by filing a new W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. The IRS has a handy calculator that can help you determine what to claim on your W-4 form.
If you are military, the process is even easier. Simply* log into your myPay account and select the withholding options. Enter the new information, and – magic – your withholding with change. If you do it today, you may see it changed by the mid-month paycheck.
If a big refund is still a priority for you, adjust your planning to reflect the fact that you won’t be getting your refund quite so fast in 2017, or subsequent years.