These days, we’re all doing the best we can with what we have. That’s why during National Payroll Week, September 7-11, the American Payroll Association (APA) is cheering for you and offering a helping hand with suggestions that can help you get more from your pay and make unemployment benefits less painful. While you’re at it, enter to win a free paycheck from the American Payroll Association at www.nationalpayrollweek.com in honor of the best week of the year.
1-Evaluate Your Withholdings
If you are receiving unemployment benefits, you may be surprised to know the federal government (and many states) tax unemployment benefits as ordinary income. You can avoid a surprise bill at tax time next April by choosing to have income taxes withheld from your unemployment benefits. You can ask to have taxes withheld from your payments when you apply for benefits, or you can file IRS Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding with your state unemployment office. You can also opt to not have any taxes withheld from your benefits and save the entire tax bill for the next year. Regardless of how you choose to move forward with your withholdings, it’s important to remember to select a withholding amount that is best for your current financial situation.
If you are employed or newly employed and you haven’t thought about the Form W-4 recently, it may be time to review your pay statements to ensure you’re having an accurate amount of income tax withheld to meet your current tax and financial situation. While you may enjoy receiving a large tax refund each spring, your tax refund may be costing you money. By updating Form W-4, you can more accurately align your income tax withholding to your tax liability. For help, use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to ensure you’re not giving Uncle Sam an interest free loan.
2-Use Paycheck Tools
Visit the American Payroll Association’s paycheck tools page on the NPW website to access invaluable educational resources and calculators that can help you understand how your wages are calculated and ways you can maximize your income to take control of your finances. From learning ways to save at work, to discovering how to get the most out of your 401(k), there are resources for everyone at www.nationalpayrollweek.com.
3-Explore Different Payment Methods
Employers may offer multiple payment choices to their employees, so find out which options are available for you. Electronic payments offer a more environmentally friendly and secure form of payment than your old-school paper paychecks. With direct deposit, paycards, and even on-demand pay – there’s a perfect fit out there for you and your finances and no need to pay fees for cashing a paper paycheck.
4-Control Your Finances with Split Direct Deposit
Direct deposit offers an easy way to manage your paycheck deductions and to save for a rainy day. Request to have your electronic payments funneled into separate deposits for different bank accounts. For instance, you could set up an account just for savings and another account for your monthly expenses. By setting up separate allotments to both your checking and savings accounts, you are more likely to live within your budget while still ensuring that a portion of your paycheck is automatically added to your savings.
Making small but well-planned adjustments can help you reach your financial goals for today and the future. After taking a close look at your finances and doing these four things, be sure to take the “Getting Paid In America” survey, available online through September 11 on the National Payroll Week website www.nationalpayrollweek.com. You’ll be automatically entered to win a free paycheck from the American Payroll Association!
These free resources should not be taken as tax or legal advice. Content provided is intended as general information. Tax regulations and laws change and the impact of laws can vary. Consult a tax advisor, CPA or lawyer for guidance on your specific situation.