The gross wages you receive are the total amount of wages prior to deductions. However, most employees have deductions that are automatically withheld from your paycheck. The amount of money you actually take home from your paycheck is your net wages. Although the deductions are automatically withheld by your employer, you can manually calculate your net wages from your gross pay.
Determine the amount of gross pay for a pay period. If you are an hourly employee, multiply your hourly wage times the amount of hours you worked during the pay period. If you are a salaried employee, calculate your salary for the pay period by dividing your annual salary by the amount of pay periods in a year. For example, assume you are paid £26 an hour and you worked 40 hours during the pay period. Your gross wages for the pay period are £26 x 40 = £1,040
Check IRS Publication 15 (see Resources) and determine the value of any allowances claimed on your W-4 form. For example, for the tax year 2010, each allowance equals £45.60 per week.
Multiply the allowance amount from Step 3 by the number of allowances claimed on your W-4 form. For example, suppose you claimed three allowances on your W-4 form. £45.60 x 3 = £136.8. Subtract this amount from the gross wage figure. Continuing the same example, £1,040 - £136.8 = £903.1. This figure represents the income used to calculate the amount of federal tax withheld from your paycheck.
Check IRS Publication 15 (see Resources) tax withholding table to find the approximate amount of federal tax to withhold. For example, assuming you are single, the estimated tax withholding is £152.4.
Calculate the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax that is withheld from your paycheck. Multiply the current FICA tax rate by the amount of your gross wages. For example, in 2010 the FICA withholding tax rate is 7.65 per cent, so continuing the same example, £1,040 x .765 = £79.5.
Calculate your state or local withholding from your gross pay. Consult the publications from your state and local municipalities to determine the rate of tax, if any, and calculate the amount of tax withheld.
Subtract all withholdings from the gross pay. Continuing the same example, £1,040 £152.4 - 122.40 = £807.9.
Subtract any voluntary withholdings from your paycheck. Examples of voluntary withholdings include medical insurance, 401k plans and health savings accounts.