The Internal Revenue Service requires that you pay taxes on all earned income, even if your employer doesn’t withhold taxes from each paycheck. The withholding information you provided on your W-4 when you began working might have instructed your employer to not withhold income taxes, or your employer could simply be miscalculating your withholding. No matter why taxes might not be withheld from your salary or hourly wages, expect to pay income taxes when you file your Form 1040.
1. Determine whether you earned enough to be required to file taxes. If you’re an individual taxpayer and not a dependent and you earned less than $9,350, or if you're married and filing jointly and earned less than $18,700, in most circumstances the IRS doesn’t require you to file. If you’re claimed as a dependent and earned more than $5,700 in a combination of wages and investment income, or if you earned more than $950 in investment income, you must file. Additionally, if you earned more than $400 in self-employment income, the IRS requires you to file a return.
2. Determine the total amount of wages you earned throughout the year. Your employer reports this information to the IRS using a Form W-2, and the company gives you a copy. Your taxable wages are reported in Boxes 1, 3 and 5 for different types of earnings. If your employer withheld any income taxes, it's reported in Box 2. Social Security taxes are reported in Box 4, and Medicare taxes are shown in Box 6.
3. Total all your earnings from each job -- you should receive a W-2 from each employer -- from Box 1 on each W-2. Transfer this total to Line 7 if you’re using Form 1040 or Form 1040A. Insert this total in Line 1 if you file using Form 1040EZ. This, along with any other earnings you report, is taxable income.
4. Total the amount of income taxes withheld from Box 2 of each of your W-2s. Transfer this total to Line 61 on Form 1040 and 1040A, or to Line 7 of Form 1040EZ. Continue calculating your taxes based on your applicable deductions, credits and other taxes.
- To instruct your employer to withhold taxes from your salary, adjust your withholding information by submitting a new W-4.
- The IRS requires you to pay income taxes as you earn your wages. Postponing payment until the end of the year can result in a fine.
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