Question

I had no federal tax withheld from my pay. Why would my employer not take federal withholding taxes out of my paycheck?

Answer

It is hard to say why you had no federal tax withheld from your pay. The best way to find out is to ask your employer.

Here are some possible reasons:

  • If you are considered an independent contractor there would be no federal tax withheld from your pay. In fact, your employer would not withhold any tax at all. If this is the case:
    • You probably received a Form 1099-MISC instead of a W-2 to report your wages. No Medicare or Social Security would have been withheld either.
    • You’ll need to file a Schedule C to report the income and any expenses related to that income.
    • You’ll also need to file a Schedule SE to report and pay your Medicare and Social Security tax.
  • You might have claimed on your W-4 to be exempt from withholding. You must meet certain requirements to be exempt from withholding. You should check with your HR department to make sure you have the correct amount withheld.
  • Your employer might have withheld taxes but gave you an incorrect W-2. If this is true, your employer must issue you a corrected W-2.
  • Your employer might have just made a mistake. If your employer didn’t withhold the correct amount of federal tax, contact your employer to have the correct amount withheld for the future. When you file your return, you’ll owe the amounts your employer should have withheld during the year as unpaid taxes.

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