General Question

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Confused: Why would I owe taxes?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (5674points) February 5th, 2015

Every “tax calculator” I’ve tried is saying I owe! Should I get a return?

Single, No Kids, No Dependents, Living in NYS.
(All numbers approximate)

Line 1. Income: $50,000
Line 2. Federal Income Tax Withheld: 4850
Line 3. Social Security Wages: 50600
Line 4. Social Security Tax Withheld: 3100
Line 5. Medicare Wages and Tips: 50600
Line 6: Medicare Tax Withheld: 730

Student Interest Paid: $2,300

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18 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

In my head, glancing at the EZ form and the tax table it looks like you owe $963. I could easily wrong. Hopefully someone who has a pen and paper can do a better calculation for you.

I didn’t account for the interest paid? Not sure how that figures in. You don’t make any interest from bank accounts that need to be included?

Edit: I googled and it says you can deduct the paid interest off of income. If it’s that simple then it looks like you owe $388. Not sure? What number did you come up with?

JLeslie's avatar

Also, don’t you pay state tax? Maybe you can deduct that also.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

I paid $2389.34 in state tax.

I’ve gotten really disparate numbers from each calculator I’ve used:

300-something, 800-something, and 1,300.


That all seems crazy. As far as I knew, I was withholding the maximum to avoid having to pay at the end of the year. I’m not good at taxes/finances though so I could be mistaken. It just doesn’t seem “fair” that I would pay so much of my meager salary and STILL owe. (But everyone knows “fair” doesn’t apply to taxes)

I’ve got an appt. with H&R Block tonight so hopefully they can clear it up for me…

JLeslie's avatar

$50k isn’t meager to me. It will be less than 20% it looks like including SS and Medicare. I know it still sucks. Paying is better than getting back. You had your money to make interest on. I know now we earn very little interest so it doesn’t matter much. Either way, whether you owe or get back you pay the same amount.

If you wind up owing and hate paying at the end of the year change your W4 and have more taken out.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

With my student loans, 50K is very meager by NYC standards. I usually break even at the end of the month. I’m lucky if I have $100 to save or help pay down a debt. :(

JLeslie's avatar

I didn’t realize you’re in NYC. You wrote NYS, so I assumed you are not in the city.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I wish I knew. My husband and I file a joint return. No kids. $80K income, paid mortgage and student loan interest. I have 0 withholdings on my W4 and he has 1 on his.

We ended up owing over $1000 federal. Luckily, our state refund made it so that we broke even, so I can’t complain, but I don’t get how we could owe federal.

This is the first year we won’t have a refund. Those education credits were pretty awesome – I’ll miss them.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace I’m guessing you’re bumping up into the 25 percent bracket, they withheld less than 10 percent. If you follow the instructions for the W-4 it usually doesn’t withhold enough.

jaytkay's avatar

You can fill out the forms for free at and get an exact number.

I think actually filing using that service would be free for you, too.

gondwanalon's avatar

Welcome to my world. I have to write income tax checks to Uncle Sugar quarterly and then on April 15th I write the Man a monster tax check.

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I think you are forgetting to subtract the $10k the OP (and everyone) gets to take off the income.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It’s figured in to that. 25 percent bracket starts for single taxpayer at 36,900 of taxable income.

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Yeah, but just to be clear, and you probably already know this, but for the rest of the jellies here and the OP, the 25% starts after $36,900, the money before that is at a lower rate.


Tax on $39,850 is $5,813. Very far from 25% of the total taxable number. If you add in the other monies the government takes then the OP is closer to 20%, but that money they eventually get back, so to speak, when they retire.

SeattleSysAdmin's avatar

If you are filing as a single without head of house hold status The federal income tax for you would be 5081.25 for the first 36,900 and 25% on the excess so 25% of 13,100 = 3275.00 making your total federal tax for 2014 8356.25

Your figure above shows you only paid 4850.00 so you would still owe them about 4000.00. Now what they are trying to collect may be less because it could have been offset by student loan interest / housing costs etc that you could have put in. But it clearly looks to me like you didn’t pay enough tax. Maybe your W4 wasn’t set at 0 or 1 like it should be. If you have 2 or more exemptions that changes it.

JLeslie's avatar

No! The income amount is not the taxed amount. You have to subtract the $10,150 from the income before you start doing any tax calculations.

Here is a 1040 EZ.

Here is the 2014 tax table.

SeattleSysAdmin's avatar

Please explain why you get to subtract 10,150? It has never been that way for me, I have had a couple years where I didn’t pay enough tax and went to the IRS office and they didn’t do any subtractions like that, I have always paid on my entire income.

jaytkay's avatar


There’s a $6,200 standard deduction for a single person (unless you itemize deductions)

Plus there is a personal exemption of $3,950 per person

It is very unlikely the IRS ignored these for you.

If they did, any store-front tax preparer can retro-actively fix it for you.

JLeslie's avatar

@SeattleSysAdmin Look at the EZ form I linked line 5. No matter what form you used you are getting a deduction.

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