Question

Why was no federal income tax withheld from my paycheck? Why would my employer do that?

Answer

So, if you’re wondering, “Why was no federal income tax withheld from my paycheck?”, it could be due to a number of reasons. So, the best way to find out is to ask your employer.

Here are some possible reasons why your employer did not withhold federal taxes (or even state taxes):

  1. If you’re 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.
    • Tip: Check out our post on independent/gig worker tax problems to avoid tax time surprises.
  2. You might have claimed to be exempt from withholding on your Form W-4. You must meet certain requirements to be exempt from withholding and have no federal income tax withheld from your paychecks. You should check with your HR department to make sure you have the correct amount withheld.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

No Federal Income Tax Withheld? Get Help

Hopefully, this article helped to explain why no federal income tax was withheld from your paycheck. But, it might be in your best interest to get tax help if there was no state or federal income tax withheld from your paycheck or if your employer did not withhold federal taxes, especially if it will affect your taxes owed or your ability to get a refund.

If you had no federal tax withheld from your paycheck and need help navigating your taxes, get help from H&R Block. With numerous tax filing options, you can work in a way that best suits you.

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