Free Calculators to Figure Out Paycheck Tax Deductions

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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. 

Find out more about what is included on your pay stub, including tax withholdings, Social Security deductions, and much more.

Why use a paycheck calculator

One major reason to use a paycheck calculator is to avoid the mistake Rachel makes on Friends: Before you get your first paycheck, 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 paycheck

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

  • 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. Paychecks are 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.

    See more information about when you will receive your first paycheck after starting a job, as well as when you will receive your last paycheck after you stop working for a company.