Get a tax refund? Maybe you need to adjust withholding

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Your Money

May 30, 2004|By Lorene Yue

If you are one of the millions of taxpayers who got a refund this year, you've probably been chided for giving the federal government an interest-free loan.

You may view that refund, which has averaged $2,063, as an automatic savings plan, but it doesn't earn you a cent in interest. And if you would rather mind your own money, then you will want to reduce how much your employer withholds in federal taxes from your paycheck.

At, they'll do the calculations for you. You'll need a recent pay stub and your last income tax return. After answering four pages of questions, the calculator will suggest how many allowances to enter on your W-4 form to get your withholding to match your estimated tax liability.

Don't set that number too low. If you don't have enough withheld, not only will you be making up the shortfall, but you may have to pay a penalty too.

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