No. of Recommendations: 1
This is only the second year doing this, so I need to see if last year's $3300 refund was a one time deal or not.

Yes, that would be a good idea if you feel uncomfortable about making a change.

I've always used that portion as a cushion to offset capital gains taxes since my salary is relatively low in comparison to my ability to pay taxes when I make "a killing in the stock market."

As in capital gains? Repeat, capital gains? If so, you are a far better investor than most, or lucky, or both.

What I aim for is to be in "safe harbor", so if this year's withholding is at least equal to last year's tax liability, I am safe from penalties, at least with the "killing" I am able to get. (The rules are more severe for high income earners, so you might search the "Tax Strategies" board for "safe harbor".) What the "safe harbor" rules do is provide the conditions under which I will not owe any penalties.

I personally claim "single, 2 allowances" plus a little extra to be withheld from each paycheck, and I use that to keep me within safe harbor, increasing it when there are years in which I owe when I file. But I haven't had to worry about what amounts to a second job, which would have been quite a complication.

Here are couple links that might or might not be useful:

W-4 form (both pages): http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4_02.pdf

How do I Adjust my Tax Withholding?: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p919.pdf

If they are of use to you, great! If not, well, at least you looked into the possibility before dismissing it. My feeling is that it is probably better to play it a little overly safe when dealing with taxing authorities.

At any rate, it is great that, if you do get a refund, you use it (or at least a big chunk of it) in a financially responsible manner (such as the reduction of your car loan balance) rather than blow it on some short-term pleasure.
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