Publication 15 2023 - 2024

A guidebook published by the IRS on federal employment taxes, Publication 15, explains the employer's responsibility for withholding, depositing, reporting, and paying employment taxes.

Publication 15 is the IRS’s Employer’s Tax Guide, which provides an employer with information on withholding and reporting federal income taxes. It contains withholding tables and instructions for filling out the appropriate Forms W-4 and paying the correct amount of federal income tax with each paycheck and supplemental unemployment compensation plan benefit payment to employees. It also includes information on how to withhold tax on pensions, annuities, and individual retirement arrangements.

The publication is the mainstay of many tax professionals and includes several sections containing a variety of useful information. These include the most important: an explanation of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Employer Identification Number, or EIN, which is the unique identifier businesses use to identify themselves to the federal government and tax agencies.

Additionally, the book is a good source for details on what is considered the most important aspect of payroll tax withholding and reporting: employee identification and verification. It covers the best ways to verify your employees’ identity and provide them with their correct tax forms.

In addition, the publication offers detailed information on the newest form of identification available to most workers: the social security number or SSN. This number is required for most employees to claim retirement and medical insurance benefits.

It is a good idea to ensure that you have an up-to-date copy of this guide as you navigate your business’s tax obligations. In addition, the IRS releases a Compliance Update, 2023 Publication 15 (Circular E),15-T, and Forms W-4, W-4R, Released every few years to help you stay on top of the latest developments in employment tax compliance.

What is Income Tax Withholding

What is Income Tax Withholding?

If you earn income, your employer will usually withhold a portion of it to pay federal and state taxes. You fill out a Form W-4 to let your employer know how much you want to have withheld from each paycheck.

Once you’ve filled out your W-4, your employer uses federal withholding tables to calculate how much tax should be withheld from your paycheck. The amount you’re withheld is usually based on the information you submit on your W-4, such as your marital status and the number of dependents.

In most cases, your withholding should be adjusted at the beginning of each year to reflect major changes in your life. These can include buying a home, getting married, or having children.

IRS Publication 15 offers guidance on how to change your tax withholding. It also explains some of the withholding methods used by employers, including the percentage or wage bracket method and the annualized wages method.

If you’re not sure what your withholding should be, the IRS has an online calculator called the Tax Withholding Estimator. It compares your most recent pay stubs and other information with what you’ve already been withholding. It can help you determine whether you’re on track with your withholding or need to make an estimated tax payment before the end of the year.

Other Essential IRS Publications

Publication 15 is updated annually, so it is best to refer to it frequently. In addition to publication 15, you can find specialized information in publications such as 15A, which provides additional employment tax guidance, and Publication 15B, which covers fringe benefits. These publications can be very useful in helping you understand your tax responsibilities as an employer. However, consulting with a professional for assistance is always a good idea.

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