How to Decode your Paystub and Income Deductions

How to Decode your Paystub and Income Deductions?

It’s critical to understand your pay stub, and when each new year begins, certain components may alter. We’re here to assist manufacturing employees to grasp these changes by explaining what could seem different on paychecks starting January 1 and why.

How to Decode your Paystub and Income Deductions

In this post, we’ll go over some payroll principles, show you an example of a 2022 pay stub, explain what information to expect, and discuss tax changes that may affect your pay in 2022.

Paying Schedule

Payroll is processed weekly by some businesses, while it is processed biweekly (every two weeks) or twice a month by others (on the 1st and the 15th). If you’re paid twice a month, you’ll get 24 paychecks every year. You will receive 26 payments if you are paid biweekly.

You’ll most likely get paid weekly in the entertainment sector, though this might vary. You may not work the complete 52 weeks because productions frequently go on hiatus, or you may have a break between projects.

Finally, your wages are likely to fluctuate, both in terms of hourly income and the amount of overtime compensation you receive.

Also Read: How to Save Money on your House?

Calculating Tax Withholdings

Before receiving their first payment, every salaried and hourly employee must complete a W-4 form. This form is used to establish a federal and state tax withholding amount based on your household earnings and the number of dependents you can claim.

State and federal tax tables presume you’ll receive nearly the same paycheck throughout the year, and taxes deducted on each check are computed with that in mind.

The new W-4 form, which goes into effect in 2020, has an area for multiple employment and other revenue, which is important if you want to account for box rental income or independent contractor payments. Here’s a sample W-4 with notes to help you fill it out.

Your employer submits your pay and W-4 election to the IRS after your W-4 is completed. The total amount of federal income tax withheld from your paycheck in a given year is computed and divided by the number of paychecks you will get that year.

This fixed federal tax withholding amount is deducted by your employer from each paycheck you receive. If you want to modify your selection, you must complete a new W-4 form.

When you submit your taxes each year, you must reconcile both state and federal taxes. When you complete and file your return, you will be able to determine if your tax withholding election was too high or too low.

If it was too high, you will receive a tax refund for the amount you overpaid. If your withholding was insufficient, you will owe money and will be required to reimburse the state or federal government for any amount that was underpaid over the year.

Details and Pay

You’ll notice some vital information at the top of your pay stub: your name, the name of your firm, and the pay period shown below. Following that, you’ll find three crucial phrases related to pay. Each one gives you a different picture of how much money you made.

  • Gross earnings are the entire amount you are paid for a given pay period before any taxes or deductions are deducted.
  • YTD Gross: YTD is an abbreviation for “year to date.” This total shows all of the money you’ve received since the beginning of the year (January 1). This sum, which includes both taxable and nontaxable salaries, will always be the largest on your pay stub. Each employer calculates year-to-date earnings. If you work both union and non-union jobs, you may be paid by two different companies, which means you must sum your YTD earnings to determine your genuine wages.
  • When reviewing a pay stub, most individuals check for the number “Net Pay.” This figure, often known as ‘take-home pay,’ is the amount of money you’ll get after taxes and deductions are deducted.

If your pay structure contains bonuses or commission payouts, your company may choose to include them in your ordinary payroll or pay them separately since they are taxed differently. Contact your production accountant or paymaster if you have any queries regarding how various sorts of remuneration are paid or taxed.


Each of your paychecks is subject to a variety of taxes. These taxes are classified into three types: federal, state, and municipal. There are additional tax breaks for two government-run programs: Social Security and Medicare.

Here is a breakdown of the taxes that will be withheld from each paycheck:

  • Federal Income Taxes: Federal taxes are used by the government to fund national initiatives that benefit the American people. Funds are utilized to invest in areas such as technology, education, and healthcare initiatives, among others. The amount of federal tax taken from your paycheck is determined by your W-4 election and where your earnings fall on a scale of pre-defined federal income brackets.

What will be different in 2022? Because the federal tax table changes every year, your federal withholding may vary somewhat.

  • State and Local Taxes (SALT): These taxes vary greatly from state to state, and while most states impose income tax, a few do not. If you work or live in a state that levies income taxes, the rates are determined similarly to federal income taxes, based on where your earnings fall within predefined tax brackets and your W-4 election.

Some localities, in addition to the state income tax, collect an income tax. If your city or county collects local taxes, money withheld from each paycheck will be labeled “local” or the name of your city or county. As long as the amount you pay for state and local income taxes is the same, you should pay the same amount each pay period.

Tax Considerations for the Entertainment Industry:

When it comes to SALT in the entertainment business, there are a few more considerations that must be addressed. To begin, it is usual for production crew members to work in many states throughout the year.

The main guideline is to withhold income tax for the state in which services are provided, but additional rules must also be followed. Specifically, where you live and if nearby states have reciprocity.

Determining the proper state of residency is vital since it informs your employer which state’s legislation, in addition to the state in which you work, must be considered.

Non-residents who come to work in a state nearly always have to pay taxes on salaries received for services done in that state. A few exclusions may apply depending on how long an employee works in that state or how much money they make. Unfortunately, taxes are retroactive to day one or dollar one, making it impossible to implement these guidelines proactively in our sector.

Working in numerous places in the same week (or working fewer than a five-day workweek) poses payroll system and employee issues. Payroll systems are built to generate a payment based on yearly tax tables, so if you work one day, the system believes you earned that amount every weekday of the year, and taxes may be over-calculated.

Employees who work in numerous states during the year will be issued a W2 for each state where services were rendered. Things become a little simpler if you work in two states that have reciprocity.

Employees who commute to work across state boundaries are not required to submit multiple state tax returns in reciprocity states, reducing their tax burden. Arizona, for example, has reciprocity agreements with California, Indiana, Oregon, and Virginia.

Also Read: 3 Ways To Compare Personal Loan Rates

Other Tax Breaks

In addition to the taxes mentioned above, your real pay stub may include further deductions. 401k contribution deductions and payments for employer-sponsored healthcare insurance premiums are the two most typical items you’ll encounter. Both are deducted from your gross salary and so processed pre-tax, assuming the producer has a Section 125 pre-tax scheme in place.

Employees choose which healthcare plan to join and the 401k contribution percentage to withdraw from each paycheck. Check your pay stub to ensure that your elections are being handled correctly.

Now that you’ve decoded your paycheck, you may be certain that you understand all of the labels and statistics! And if you understand the information on your pay stub, you’ll be able to ask the correct questions if anything looks out of the ordinary.

Remember to evaluate these components of your paychecks, and if you have any concerns regarding your earnings, deductions, or withholdings, contact your production accountant or paymaster for clarification.

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