TAX-TIP ALERT: Itís Tax Time!




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Need help? Interactive Web site deciphers a paycheck

Theyíre baaaack.

Income tax forms began arriving in mailboxes soon after Christmas. Following closely behind, W-2 forms and other statements listing gross pay, net pay, taxes and other adjustments, are gobbledygook to many.

Whatís a taxpayer to do?

A good place to start is Anatomy of a Paycheck, a Web site featuring an educational, interactive presentation explaining the parts of a paycheck and earnings statement. Itís the brainchild of Wendy Wright, a Rochester Institute of Technology advanced technical-communication graduate student. Wrightís idea evolved into the presentation now featured on the Paychex Inc. Web site at http://www.pay chex.com/employees/anatpayck.html .

The presentation gives examples and explanations, grouped by paycheck and earnings statement, or pay stub. It defines terms such as earnings, pre- and post-tax adjustments, taxable compensation, and net or "take-home" pay. It also includes social security and Medicare tax rates, maximum withholding amounts and a step-by-step net-pay calculation example.

Uncertainty and dread are characteristics shared by death and taxes. Anatomy of a Paycheck, at least, helps alleviate some of the uncertainty around tax time.

For more on this story, contact Michael Saffran, senior news specialist, at (585) 475-5697 or mjsun s@rit.edu.