Learn And Compare The Federal Withholding Tables 2021. You May Also Learn About Federal Income Tax, Determining Methods, How It Works, And How It Differs From State Income Tax.

Just like any other prior year, the newly adjusted Federal Withholding Tables 2021 was released by IRS to prepare for this year’s tax season. It includes several changes such as the tax bracket changes and the tax rate annually, along with the option to use a computational bridge. You may use the tables to determine the amount of your federal income tax.

Now, even though dealing with the ever-changing employment tax rates might be confusing for you, it is still necessary. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the federal income tax or want to learn about the 2021 adjustments, then this article can provide some helpful insights.

Federal Income Tax Withholding Tables 2021 (Publication 15-T 2021)

What Is Federal Income Tax Withholding Tables?

Federal income tax withholding tables are the set of data that helps employers to determine the amount of tax that should be withheld from their employees’ wages. To use the table and figure out the federal income tax withholding, the employers need to utilize the data from the W4 form, employees’ filing statuses, and the pay frequency.

Where Can I Find Federal Income Tax Withholding Tables?

The methods to determine the employees’ federal income tax withholding are described in the IRS-issued document called Publication 15-T. In this document, you’d be able to find the step-by-step process to calculate withholding by two methods: wage bracket and percentage techniques, which would be explained further in the next section. This document also contains the most recent version of five worksheets with each of their applicable federal withholding tables 2021.

Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods

As mentioned in prior, there are two methods inside Publication 15-T to determine federal income tax withholding. Read about Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods below.

Wage Bracket Technique

When using the wage bracket technique, first figure out which range that the employee’s wages are categorized in. Along with the information that’s inputted inside the W4 form such as standard or adjusted withholding, you will be able to determine the withheld amount.

There are two sections included in Publication 15-T under the wage bracket method. It depends on which W4 Form version you are using, which are:

  • System of manual payroll for W4 Form of 2019 and earlier versions.
  • System of manual payroll for W4 Form of 2020 and later versions.

One thing to keep in mind is this particular method is only applicable to determine tax rates for employees who earn $100,000 and more a year. This technique also cannot be utilized if the employee claimed over 10 allowances when you’re using the W4 Form of 2019 and earlier versions.

Percentage Technique

The percentage technique may seem similar to the wage bracket, but there are some differences. There is still a table that contains employees’ wages ranges, but it needs to be combined with percentage calculation and flat dollar amount.

Sounds confusing enough? Here’s a simple two-step explanation of how it works:

  • Determine the employee’s wage range to figure out the withheld amount.
  • Add it with the percentage of the excessive adjusted wage of the prior step.

There are three sections that included in Publication 15-T under the percentage method, which are:

  • System of manual payroll for W4 Form of 2019 and earlier versions.
  • System of manual payroll for W4 Form of 2020 and later versions.
  • System of automatic payroll.

The benefit of using the percentage is that it works for all circumstances, despite the allowances of wages if you’re using the W4 Form of 2019 and earlier versions. It is also applicable for a system of automatic payroll.

How the Federal Income Tax Works

Federal income tax is the term that refers to the tax deducted from income – which includes all types of earned money such as wage, salary, tips, incentives, bonuses, gambling money, to unemployment compensation.

The tax system in the United States uses a progressive scale. It means you are required to pay a higher tax percentage the higher money that you earn. In 2021, there are seven percentage categories of tax rates that increases gradually, starts at 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, to 37%.

Federal Withholding Tables 2020 vs. 2021

In 2017, the US government passed The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which was the most massive revamp of the tax code in several decades. This implementation carried a considerable amount of changes regarding tax rates and wage brackets, sharp rise of the standard deduction, the removal of personal exemptions, and upgraded construction of the W4 form.

That being said, there are not many adjustments made from 2020 to 2021. There are several upgrades worth mentioning, which are listed in the followed.

Changes Regarding Federal Withholding Tables 2021

Here is what the Federal Withholding Tables 2020 looks like:

Tax Rate Taxable Income
Single Married Filing Jointly Married Filing Separately Head of Household
10% < $9,875 < $19,750 < $9,875 < $14,100
12% $9,876 – $40,125 $19,751 – $80,250 $9,876 – $40,125 $14,101 – $53,700
22% $40,126 – $85,525 $80,251 – $171,050 $40,126 – $85,525 $53,701 – $85,500
24% $85,526 – $163,300 $171,051 -$326,600 $85,526 – $163,300 $85,501 – $163,300
32% $163,301 – $207,350 $326,601 – $414,700 $163,301 – $207,350 $163,301 – $207,350
35% $207,351 – $518,400 $414,701 – $622,050 $207,351 – $311,025 $207,351 – $518,400
37% > $518,400 > $622,050 >  $311,025 > $518,400

Below is what the Federal Withholding Tables 2021 looks like:

Tax Rate Taxable Income
Single Married Filing Jointly Married Filing Separately Head of Household
10% < $9,950 < $19,900 < $9,950 < $14,200
12% $9,951 – $40,525 $19,901 – $81,050 $9,951 – $40,525 $14,201 – $54,200
22% $40,526 – $86,375 $81,051 – $172,750 $40,526 – $86,375 $54,201 – $86,350
24% $86,376 – $164,925 $172,751 – $329,850 $86,376 – $164,925 $86,351 – $164,900
32% $164,926 – $209,425 $329,851 – $418,850 $164,926 – $209,425 $164,901 – $209,400
35% $209,426 – $523,600 $418,851 – $628,300 $209,426 – $314,150 $209,401 – $523,600
37% > $523,600 > $628,300 > $314,150 > $523,600

Standard Deduction Increase

Besides the Federal Withholding Tables 2021 adjustment, there are also changes in the rate of the standard deduction. Here’s a table that shows how the standard deduction rate table looks like:

Standard Deduction Taxable Income
Single Married Filing Jointly Married Filing Separately Head of Household
2020 $12,400 $24,800 $12,400 $18,650
2021 $12,550 $25,100 $12,550 $18,800

Optional Computational Bridge

The computational bridge is the optional method you may use to convert the W4 Form of 2019 and earlier versions to the W4 Form of 2020 and later versions. This might be done for the purpose of serving consistency while you’re still using the familiar earlier version of W4 Form.

Differences Between State Income Tax And Federal Income Tax

The income taxes that are applied by the state government and federal government are different. The rules of income tax and the rates between the federal government and most of the states can vary a lot. For example, the federal income tax has a progressive characteristic, while some states apply flat tax rates for all ranges of income and some states use a progressive system as well.

Federal income tax is an obligation for all individuals required to pay taxes. Meanwhile, not all states require income tax payment. Some of the states that don’t collect this specific type of tax are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. Other states such as Tennessee and New Hampshire only entail interest income and tax dividends instead of income tax.

Federal Tax Withholding Table 2021 (Publication 15-T 2021) Download & Printable

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) & Answers

What Is Federal Withholding?

It is the amount of withheld tax by the federal government for employees’ taxable income.

What Are The Federal Withholding Rates For 2021?

There are seven brackets of federal tax in 2021, which are 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%. Which bracket you’re included in depends on your filing status and taxable income.

How Do You Determine Federal Tax Withholding?

The first step to determine the accurate federal tax withheld is by completing W4 Form, so the data about your dependents and filing status can be known. Then by combining the data with your paycheck information, you are able to figure federal tax withholding correctly.

How Do I Calculate Federal Withholding?

You may use an online calculator made by the IRS for tax withholding which’s called Tax Withholding Estimator to make sure that your income has the correct amount of tax withheld.

How Much Do You Have To Earn Before Federal Tax Is Withheld?

It depends on the amount of income on your paycheck. It’s possible for taxpayers to be exempted from paying federal income taxes if their incomes are lower than the federal standard deduction and additional deduction if they are not claimed by another individual as a dependent.

What Happens If No Federal Income Tax Is Withheld?

There are few possible reasons: you are regarded as an independent contractor, you claim an exemption on the W4 form, your taxes are withheld but you are given the wrong W2 form, or your employer may simply make mistake.

The process of determining your withheld tax is more than using federal withholding tables 2021. To figure out the accurate amount, you can try to use the Tax Withholding Estimator that’s provided on the official website of IRS. It may even able to assist you to decide if your employees need to change their most recent tax withholding.

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