Payroll Withholding Calculator

Adjusting Tax Withholding

Have you ever needed to adjust your income tax withholding from your paycheck? If so, you know you need to submit a new W-4 to your employer. The form doesn't tell you how your withholding will change if you change the number of allowances and many people use a trial and error approach (submit a form, wait to see what happens on their paystub, submit a new one, repeat as needed).

Occasionally, people know exactly how much they want taken out of the their paycheck. But the form does not allow you to directly specify a dollar amount. However, you can use the same calculations your employer uses to translate your W-4 information into actual withholding dollars, and thus you can determine the effects of any changes in advance.

We have created a simple spreadsheet which will calculate this for you. Just enter your annual salary and number of allowances in the grey boxes to see what the withholding will be for both Single and Married choices. If we were fancy, we'd reverse the steps, and calculate the number of allowances you need to put in order to get your desired withholding. Someday. That usually means never.


Embedded W-4 Excel Spreadsheet

Use the embedded spreadsheet below to play with the allowances to get your desired withholding. As always, use this at your own risk. We cannot vouch for he accuracy of the information, and you should verify our calculations if it is critical you have accurate numbers.

Note that your employer can use one of several different methods to calculate your withholding off of your W-2. But the final result should be very close regardless of the method chosen. There are rules which minimize the difference between methods. We have chosen the "Alternate 2" method from Publication 15A.

If you don't need to calculate the exact dollar amount in advance, but instead just want to get the appropriate tax withheld to avoid penalties and tax surprises, GO HERE for our page with general education about filling out your W-4.


Enter your annual taxable wages and allowances in the grey boxes. Note that taxable wages are your salary minus deductible amounts such as health insurance premiums, retirement account contributions, health savings account or flexible savings account contributions, etc.

Be sure to also check out our Social Security Benefits Calculator! It's the only (free!) one of its kind. Come to think about it, there are no paid versions which has some of the features ours has either. Your welcome!