Q: What Are Involuntary Deductions?

Involuntary deductions on a paycheck are payroll deductions that must be taken out of an employee’s pay. These deductions can include:

  • Mandatory, state, local, and federal income taxes including FICA;
  • Child support payments;
  • Defaulted student loans; and
  • Tax levies.

What are voluntary deductions then?

Voluntary deductions on a paycheck are payroll deductions that the employee has chosen to have taken out of their pay.

As shown on the sample paycheck below, these can include:

  • Pre-Tax Deductions and Contributions such as retirement funds, health insurance and commuter benefits.
  • Post-Tax Deductions and Contributions such as charitable donations; retirement funds that are post-tax, like a ROTH 401(k); and contributions to 529 college savings plans.

Withholding and filing requirements can be tricky for employers and employees , so it’s best to work with a CPA or payroll provider to ensure your payroll deductions are handled correctly.

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