Friday, May 29, 2009

There may be extra cash hiding in your pay stub

Need extra cash? Now is a good time to check your pay stub to find it.

Many U.S. wage earners already have piled up refunds for next April, reports Kiplinger's Kevin McCormally. If you are among them, now is a good time to dial down your withholding and bring home a little more of your money in your next paycheck.

It's not hard work. At the simplest, you check last year's tax return to compare the taxes you owed then against what your pay stub says has been collected year-to-date. Then, if your income and tax situation hasn't changed much from 2008 and year-to-date is bigger, go ahead and ask your employer to reduce your withholding.

Don't forget to scope the same numbers on your state income tax returns too. Budget problems have delayed 2008 refund payments in both Missouri and Kansas. We don't know that will happen again, but it's another good reason to get your money now instead of later.

The IRS provides free online instructions, forms and a quick calculator to help you figure how much to change to keep up with stimulus plan tax changes.

And while you are wonking out anyway, why not give all your finances a midyear once over, asks Bankrate Monitor's Kay Bell. Her basic 2003 rundown of what to look for is still good, but some tax rates and other details have changed since then.

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