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Understanding pay and benefits
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At the end of the year, how much of your unused healthcare FSA is refunded?

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They won’t refund any of your unused FSA, so make sure to calculate your contribution carefully and not leave anything on the table.

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Which of these are mandatory deductions?

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In addition to federal income tax, state income tax (if applicable) and Social Security tax.

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Key Takeaways

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  • Remember that there’s more to what you make than just your salary—benefits like health insurance, retirement contributions and  tuition reimbursement can be a big part of what an employer is offering
  • Estimate your itemized and standard deductions, and use the larger of the two
  • If you qualify as self-employed, you may need to pay your taxes quarterly. Check out Form 1040-ES to help you estimate what you owe
  • As a part-time or independent contractor, your employer likely won’t withhold taxes from your paycheck. Also, you’re responsible for both the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare tax
  • Be sure to include transportation costs like parking and your subway pass as part of your pre-tax deductions if your employer offers that benefit. It will be automatically deducted from your paycheck
  • Research how the marriage penalty may affect you and plan ahead for any extra cost
  • Life events can greatly change your tax bill. For example, having a child means your taxable income may be reduced by dependent exemptions and child care credits. Receiving alimony means taxable income will likely increase