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Still can't seem to get it. Maybe missing an easy calculation, but still 1.8% off the final number after deducting only the pre-tax retirement plan contribution before calculation.

You might not be able to tie this down to the penny without dissecting the payroll program your company is using.

There are a couple of allowable methods for figuring your actual withholding. Your company can use the tables the IRS provides in Publication 15 (also known as Circular E). They can use a percentage method, which is much like working through the tax rate schedules. And they can use either an annual table (by multiplying and dividing by the number of pay periods in a year) or a table specifically for your pay period. Finally, they can use any other method they choose as long as the result is substantially the same as one of the IRS's methods.

So if your calculated withholding is within 1.8% of what your company actually withheld, that's about as good as you're going to get.

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