Free Calculators to Figure Out Paycheck Tax Deductions

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If you’ve ever had a job before, you know that your gross pay is significantly more than your net pay, the number you deposit in your bank account. So, how can you figure out how much money you'll take home when you get paid? What will you net after taxes and other deductions are taken out of your paycheck?

A paycheck calculator lets you know how much money will be in every check that you receive from your employer, and they are available online for free. If that seems unnecessary, recall a scene from an early episode of the TV show Friends ("The One With George Stephanopoulos"), where Rachel receives her very first paycheck and is unpleasantly surprised to find out how much lower the amount is than her hourly salary. "Who's FICA, and why's he getting all my money?" she asks.

FICA stands for the Federal Insurance Coverage Act

Each paycheck will include a deduction for FICA, which goes to cover the Social Security and Medicare programs. But that's not all: Typically, your check will also have deductions for local, state, and federal taxes. To avoid the surprise factor, and to know your take-home wages or salary even before the first check is received, use a paycheck calculator to figure out the exact amount.

What is a Paycheck Calculator?

A paycheck calculator lets you know what amount of money will be reserved for taxes, and what amount you will actually receive. Generally, paycheck calculators will show the take-home salary for salaried and hourly workers; they can also help calculate the amount of overtime pay will be paid out directly in your check.

To get the most accurate estimate, look at your pay stub, paying attention to withholdings for federal, state, and local taxes, FICA deductions for Social Security and Medicare, and any other deductions for health insurance, retirement, and flex spending accounts.

Why Use a Paycheck Calculator

Use one of the calculators listed below to estimate how much money will be in your pay. Paycheck calculators can also be helpful even before you've accepted a job offer, or when you're offered a raise. What may seem like a large salary or a reasonable hourly rate, may seem different when you use a paycheck calculator and see the amount that you receive.

Paycheck calculators can also help determine if you are deducting the correct amount of money from your check for taxes. If you deduct too little, you will need pay back the amount you underpaid throughout the year at tax time. Or, if you deduct too much, you'll receive money back at tax time — while unexpected money is always nice, having the money throughout the year may be more beneficial. Learn how to fill out a W4 form before you begin a new job, so you can make sure the correct amount of money is deducted from each paycheck.

There are paycheck calculators to help you determine how much your paycheck will be after deductions and to help you decide how much you should have deducted to cover taxes.

Paycheck Calculators to Estimate your Pay

Here are some calculators that will help you analyze your paycheck and determine your take-home salary.

ADP Salary Payroll Calculator: Add your state, federal, state, and voluntary deductions to determine your net pay.

Neuvoo Salary and Tax Calculator: Select your location and add a salary amount to find out how much federal and state taxes will be deducted from your paycheck.

PaycheckCity.com Paycheck Calculator: Here you'll find free hourly and salary paycheck calculators.

IRS Withholding Calculator: Use the IRS Withholding calculator to ensure that you do not have too much or too little income tax withheld from their pay.

Overtime Calculator: Use this Overtime Calculator from the United States Department of Labor to help you figure out if you're eligible for overtime pay and to calculate how much overtime you will receive for a sample pay period.

Tax and Paycheck Calculators: Free tax calculators and other tax tools are available to analyze your paycheck.

Salary Calculators: Interested to see how your salary offer compares? These salary calculators and surveys will help you find out salary information for your current job as well as positions you're interested in.

Receiving Your Pay

When you receive your paycheck depends on the timing of the company's payroll. Employees typically receive a paycheck either weekly or every other week. Receiving a paycheck monthly is less common. Compensation is typically paid via check or direct deposit directly into the employee's checking account.

When you're hired, you should be notified about payroll timing and options for getting paid. Starting a new job -- or leaving your current position sometime soon? You might not receive your check at the regularly expected time.

Depending on the payroll cycle, company policy, and state law, your pay may lag. For example, when you’re starting a new job, it’s not uncommon to receive your first paycheck a week or two after the usual time.

And, when you leave a job, you may receive your check on the last day you’ve worked or on the last regular pay date for the pay period. There are no federal laws mandating exactly when the last check must be issued, although some states specify that you must be paid immediately. In any case, you must be paid for the time you’ve worked.