Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
January dawns all fresh and clean.
All our financial errors, oversights, and misjudgments from last year can be swept away (though we may still have to pay for our ills…), and we get to start this year with a clean slate.
What’s the best way to start off correctly when you’re an employee?
Reevaluate your payroll withholding tax and update your Form W-4 with your payroll department early in the year. Spread your tax burden evenly throughout the year to avoid large balances due come April.
How much do you have to withhold from your paycheck in order to avoid any penalties and interest?
You have two options:
Generally, if you set up your withholding so you never owe $1,000 on April 15, you will avoid all penalties.
Huge Refund Strategy
Some of my favorite clients prefer to receive several thousand dollars worth of refunds. It’s their idea of an enforced savings plan. Do you do that, too?
Is it a good idea?
Back in the 1980s, when banks gave you a toaster and a minimum 5 percent interest on your passbook savings—no, it was not a good idea. Money market accounts were paying 10 to 20 percent with little or no risk.
Today, when you’re lucky to get a 1 percent rate of return on a one-year CD, you may just as well leave it with the IRS.
Drawback: You must wait until you file your tax return to get your hands on the money.
Injured Spouse Payroll Withholding Strategy
Perhaps you’re facing this sad situation, having married someone who owes back taxes to the IRS or the state, back child support—being collected from tax refunds—or other debt that the IRS or your state is collecting by grabbing your joint refunds.
Avoid the IRS taking your share of the refund by filing either with married filing separately (MFS) status or with a joint return and trying to get the IRS to accept your injured spouse claim on Form 8379. You may have to fight for your share of the refund—or wait months to get the money back.
Or…simply reduce your withholding so you end up paying $100 or so, instead of getting a refund. To still build up your savings, put part of your paycheck into a separate bank account without your spouse’s name on it.
Easy Fixes for Payroll Withholding Tax
What else should you do with the payroll department? If these services are available, establish automatic deposits and review insurance payments, union fees, and other routine deductions to see if they are outdated. And please, don’t forget the automatic deductions to your favorite charity.
Tax Schemes and Tax Turkeys: Stay Away from Too-Good-to-Be-True Tax Advice
Winner! Winner! Winner!: Tax Implications of Winning Lotteries and Game Show Prizes
New Tax Laws for 2011
Open-Enrollment and FSAs: A Bonanza of Tax Advantages
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.