Don’t Give the IRS an Interest Free Loan
05.15.17 | TAX Chat
Each year, millions of taxpayers receive an income tax refund when they file their income tax returns. While receiving a refund from the IRS of a few thousand dollars can be a pleasant influx of cash, the reality is that you essentially gave the government an interest-free loan for close to a year. This is not the most efficient use of your money.
Fortunately, there is a way to begin collecting your 2017 refund now: You can review the amounts you’re having withheld and/or what estimated tax payments you’re making, and adjust them to keep more money in your pocket during the year.
Reasons to Modify Amounts
It’s particularly important to check your withholding and/or estimated tax payments if:
- You received an especially large 2016 refund,
- You’ve gotten married or divorced or added a dependent,
- You’ve purchased a home,
- You’ve started or lost a job, or
- Your investment income has changed significantly.
Even if you haven’t encountered any major life changes during the past year, changes in the tax law may affect withholding levels, making it worthwhile to double-check your withholding or estimated tax payments.
Making a Change
You can modify your withholding at any time during the year, or even several times within a year. To do so, you simply submit a new Form W-4 to your employer. Changes typically will go into effect several weeks after the new Form W-4 is submitted. For estimated tax payments, you can make adjustments each time quarterly payments are due.
While reducing withholdings or estimated tax payments will, indeed, put more money in your pocket now, you also need to be careful that you don’t reduce them too much. If you don’t pay enough tax during the year, you could end up owing interest and penalties when you file your return, even if you pay your outstanding tax liability by the April 2018 deadline.
If you’d like help determining what your withholding or estimated tax payments should be for the rest of the year, please contact us. You can reach me at HZemel@BerdonLLP.com or contact your Berdon advisor.
Hal Zemel, a Tax Partner at Berdon LLP, New York Accountants, has nearly 25 years in public accounting and advises businesses in the manufacturing, distribution, advertising, and real estate sectors.