Question

What can I do to get a state tax refund instead of paying state taxes every year?

Answer

You can change your state withholdings by submitting a new state W-4 to your employer. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Start with the amount you have to pay the state annually. Divide it by the number of paychecks you receive annually.
  2. Round the result up. You can round it to the dollar, five dollars, or ten dollars. This just depends on how large a state refund you would like.
  3. Put the result in as an additional amount to withdraw for your state withholding per paycheck. This will cover the amount you’ve been paying to your state at tax time. Depending on how late it is in the year when you make the adjustment, you might still have a balance due the first year. However, the money should balance out the next year.
  4. Make any other adjustments as necessary.

Other options include:

  • Reducing your W-4 allowances for the state
  • Paying estimated quarterly state taxes so you receive a refund instead of owing

Both of these are based on how much you think you’ll owe in state taxes next year.

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