Use our Free Paycheck Calculator spreadsheet to estimate the effect of deductions, withholdings, federal tax, and allowances on your net take-home pay. Unlike most online paycheck calculators, using our spreadsheet will allow you to save your results, see how the calculations are done, and even customize it.
Important Notice for 2020: Substantial changes have been made to how Employee Tax Withholdings work in 2020. The spreadsheet now contains separate worksheets based on whether you are using the OLD or NEW W-4 forms. Use the IRS Tax Withholding Assistant to verify results.
Paycheck Calculator for Excel
Estimate your Net Take Home Pay using this Paycheck Calculator for Excel. Answer questions such as:
- How do the number of allowances affect the federal tax withholdings?
- How much will my take-home pay change if I contribute more to my 401(k)?
Update 9/30/2020: Updated the tax tables based on the new Publication 15-T (page 6).
Update 2/13/2020: Added worksheets for using the NEW W-4 form. The formulas are based on the way the IRS Tax Withholding Assistant works, but consider this a BETA version for now, and get a qualified tax professional to check the results carefully!
Update 1/22/2020: Updated to work for wages paid in 2020 using the OLD W-4 forms (2019 or older).
Update 4/20/2018: Updated the .xlsx version to subtract Health Insurance Premiums when calculating the net take-home pay.
How Do W-4 Allowances Affect Take-Home Pay?
Some Notes About the New W-4 Form
Here are some notes about the differences with the new W-4 form that I learned or noticed as I created the new calculator.
- The New W-4 form is more complicated (when working muliple jobs), but designed to help you estimate your tax withholding more accurately.
- The New W-4 form eliminated the concept of "Allowances" but added in the option to specify dollar amounts for other income, additional deductions, dependents, and extra withholding.
- The amount from Step 3 (Dependents) is subtracted after the federal tax withholding is calculated, unlike deductions which are subtracted from the gross wage prior to the calculation.
- For the New W-4, the federal tax tables have the standard deduction built into them. There is also a new table for Head of Household.
- If Box 2(c) is checked, then the federal tax is calculated using the "HIGHER" withholding tables, which are designed to withhold tax based on the assumption that the second job is earning similar pay.
- Read the W-4 carefully. Most of what you need to know is on there.
Using the Paycheck Calculator
- Use the worksheet corresponding to the W-4 form (old = 2019 or older).
- Enter your Gross Pay for monthly, semi-monthly, biweekly, or weekly pay periods.
- Federal taxes are calculated using tables from IRS Publication 15.
- FICA Social Security Tax and Medicare are calculated based on the percentage of your Gross Pay.
- State and Local taxes are estimated by multiplying the federal taxable gross by a percentage that you input.
- Read the cell comments for more information about an input or calculation.
Paycheck Calculation References
- IRS Tax Withholding Assistant - The IRS has created a spreadsheet that can be used to calculate federal tax withholding.
- FAQs on the 2020 Form W-4 - Some guidance for using the new 2020 W-4 Form.
- IRS Publication 15-T (Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods) (.pdf) at www.irs.gov - Page 6 has the tables used in this spreadsheet.
- IRS Publication 15 (Employer's Tax Guide) (.pdf) at www.irs.gov - The official source for information about payroll taxes in the US.
- State Income Tax Rates for 2020 at taxfoundation.org - Information about state income taxes. You should also check your state's department of revenue website.
- Payroll Tax Deductions Calculator at bankrate.com - This is an online paycheck calculator that I used to help verify the net take home pay calculations in the spreadsheet.