Paycheck Calculator Washington - WA

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Washington - WA Paycheck Calculator: Hourly and Salary

Washington, a U.S state named after George Washington, the first U.S. president, is located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The state is officially known as the State of Washington, having Olympia as its capital city, Seattle, as the largest city and Greater Seattle as the largest metro.

Washington is considered the prettiest state in the Pacific Northwest. It is referred to as Evergreen State due to its tech-savvy inhabitants and evergreen forests. Moreover, the state offers plenty of reasons to settle, including diverse opportunities, high-quality life, a thriving economy, no state income tax, and great outdoor opportunities.

So if you got an appealing job offer from Washington, or want to start your new life with a business of your own, and looking for reasons to finalize your decision, then this guide is just for you.

Our travel and finance experts have joined hands to bring you one-of-its-kind Washington guide that covers the following topics:

  • The thing you must know before moving to Washington
  • Washington Payroll Facts
  • How to Calculate Paycheck in Washington? – This section would benefit both employers and employees in the following ways:
    • Help job seekers to compare several job offers in terms of take-home pay and choose the best one.
    • Help entrepreneurs to compare different business opportunities in Washington in terms of employment cost.
    • Help employees of Washington to calculate their upcoming Paycheck amount for verifying and budgeting.
    • Help employers in Washington to calculate Paycheck amounts for multiple employees instantly using our Washington Paycheck Calculator.
  • Federal and Washington Payroll Laws to ensure your paycheck complies with the law.
  • Frequently Asked Questions

We hope these topics would help find clarity and make the best decision for you and your family. So let's get started!

The Thing You Must Know Before Moving To Washington

You are strongly recommended to consider the following factors before heading to the Evergreen State:

Cost of Living

Living in Washington isn't cheap! You have to spend some extra bucks compared to most of the other states. According to bestplaces.net, the cost of living index in Washington is 118.7, which is significantly higher than the national average of 100 points. Housing followed by Transportation are the significant factors that contribute the most to overall high living costs. Moreover, Utilities and Heath are relatively cheaper, whereas grocery and miscellaneous expenses are almost identical to the rest of the states.

Cost of Housing

Straight up, it can be expensive buying or renting a house here as the median home value in the state is $381,300, which is significantly higher than the national median home value to $231,200. Moreover, you can rent a single bedroom accommodation on a median rental expense of $1,168/month, or double bedroom on $1,464/month.

However, it all depends on the location. Housing in Seattle in the most expensive. It is slightly lower in the state's capital of Olympia, Tacoma, and Vancouver, while cities like Connell, Ephrata, and Prosser are among the cheapest places to live.

Education

WA has excellent institutes for education. It is ranked third in higher education and sixth in overall education ranking among the 50 U.S states. Some of the acclaimed schools, colleges, and universities include Seattle University (Seattle), University of Washington (Seattle), Gonzaga University (Spokane), Bellevue School District (Bellevue), and Mercer Island School District (Mercer Island).

Weather

Washington has two extremely different climates varying from east to west.

Eastern Washington is arid, with a dry climate having colder winters with significant snowfall and hotter summers. Moreover, this region receives only six inches of annual rainfall.

In contrast, a western region, including Seattle, has a Mediterranean climate with relatively cool summers and moderate winters. This region sees plenty of rainfall, flog, and cloud covers. Rainfall in the western side of the Cascades can reach up to 160 inches, and snowfall up to 200 inches.

As for the threats and risks of natural disasters, this state may encounter Avalanches, Drought, Earthquake, and floods.

Outdoor Activities

Washington State has excellent outdoors. The state boasts three national parks with plenty of outdoor recreational activities like hiking, cycling or rock climbing. Moreover, you can also enjoy boating, sailing fishing, kayaking, and even gazing at whales on the Pacific Ocean and too many lakes, streams, and rivers.

Additionally, you can also enjoy food and drinks in plenty of places around the state. The Evergreen state also has numerous family-friendly sites, parks & monuments, museums, art galleries, events & festivals, fantastic nightlife, zoos & aquariums, and top tourist destinations & attractions.

Job and Business Opportunities

Washington State is an economic powerhouse and ranked on top position among fifty states for growth and economy by US News. The state has a quality supply, economic climate, and growth, providing ideal opportunities for entrepreneurs. Booming industries in the WA include Aerospace, Agriculture & Food, Clean Technology (Cleantech) and Information & Communications Technology (ICT).

As for the Job seekers, Washington has the unemployment rate of 4.8%, and a minimum wage rate of $13.50/hour (in 2020). The top employers here are Amazon (Seattle), Starbucks (Seattle), Costco (Issaquah), and Boeing (Redmond). The fastest-growing jobs here are web developer, massage therapist, optician, and chiropractor. Moreover, the highest paying job in the state, according to zippia.com, contains surgeon, psychiatrist, pediatrician, airline pilot, and CEO.


Pros and Cons

Here is the quick round-up of all the positives and negatives about the Washington State:

Pros:
  • Quality life
  • Strong economy
  • Quality education and the highest percentage of college grads
  • Plenty of outdoor activities
  • Amazing seafood
  • Flourishing job opportunities
  • Seattle is home of tech jobs
  • No state income tax
Cons:
  • Taxes for low-income earners
  • The high cost of living and Housing
  • Property crime rate
  • Average quality healthcare

Washington Payroll Facts:

  • Employers in Washington withholds federal income tax from employee's paycheck at a progressive rate ranging between 0% and 37%, distributed in seven tax brackets according to income level and filing status.
  • Washington employers withhold FICA taxes from employee's paychecks and pay an equal amount of each employee themselves. FICA tax comprises of Social Security and Medicare tax. Employees are charged with 6.2% of Social Security on their first taxable earning of $137,700/year, and 1.45% of Medicare Tax on their first taxable earning of $200,000/year. However, if the taxable earning of an employee exceeds $200,000 threshold, then the employee only is charged with an Additional Medicare surtax of 0.9%.
  • FUTA tax is only charged on employers of Washington at the rate of 6% of the first $7,000 of each employee's taxable income. Moreover, they are also charged with State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) tax at the rate ranging from 0.13% to 5.72% on the Maximum 2020 Taxable Earnings of $52,700 for each employee. However, new employers are charged according to the average industry rate ranging between 1% and 5.4%. Fortunately, employers who pay SUI tax in full and on time can claim a tax credit up to 5.4% of FUTA tax.
  • Luckily, there are no state or local income taxes in Washington charged on the employee's paycheck.
  • Both employers and employees in Washington State have to contribute to Washington Workers' Compensation according to the rate provided by the Department of Labor & Industries depending difficulty of the job being performed.
  • Washington State has a minimum wage rate of $13.50 for employees, unless or otherwise exempted. Moreover, it is also the same for the Tipped Employees. However, Minor employees (age 14 or 15 old) may be paid 85% of the adult minimum wage.
  • Non-exempted employees in Washington are paid overtime at least 1.5 times their regular hourly rate.
  • The livable wage in Washington, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a single adult is $13.47/hour, while for a couple (both working) with two children is $17.45/hour.
  • The average annual salary in Washington is $69,789, which is significantly higher than the nationwide average of $66,289
  • The median household income in the State of Washington is $70,116, as reported by the United States Census Bureau.

How to Calculate Paycheck in Washington?

As we are done with relocation to Washington and its payroll facts, now it's time to calculate paycheck.


Step 1 - Calculating Gross Pay:

The very first step to calculating the paycheck amount is to determine Gross Pay. It is a wage that an employee earned in the last pay period.

Gross Pay is calculated differently for both hourly and salary-based employees, which is discussed in detail as follow:


Gross Pay for Hourly Employee

Hourly Employees are paid at a mutually agreed pay rate for each hour they work in a pay period. Usually, Pay periods for Hourly employees are Hourly, Daily, Weekly, and Bi-Weekly. However, the Federal, State, and Local Wage law requires the employers to set the pay rate equals to or more than the defined Minimum Wage Law for the non-exempted employees.

Hourly employees are also entitled to receive overtime, for each excess hour worked after regular hours in a workday or a workweek. Remember, like Minimum wage, the employers are also required to follow Overtime wage law provided by the federal, state, and local authorities.


Note: All the relevant laws are discussed in detail ahead.

To calculate gross wage for an hourly employee:

  1. Calculate total hours worked in a Pay Period using the data from Timesheet or Timecard.
  2. Multiply Total Hours worked with the Hourly Rate (Pay Rate).
  3. Add overtime hours (if any) worked by the employee.

Quick Tip: You can also use our Timecard with overtime Calculator to calculate Gross Wage for Hourly Employee instantly.

Gross Pay for Salaried Employee

Salaried Employees are paid at the flat amount rather than on an hourly basis. The amount is usually mutually agreed as an Annual Salary, which is then paid in Semi-monthly or Monthly Pay periods.

Salaried employees are mostly exempted from overtime law. However, their salaries must be according to Federal and State Minimum Wage law.

To calculate Gross Pay for Salaried Employees:

  • Divide the "employee's salary" by "number of pay periods." For example: If the employee's annual salary is $25000 and is paid on a semi-monthly pay period, then the employee's Gross Pay would be: $25000 / 24 = $1042.

Don't forget that Supplemental Wages like Bonuses, commissions, tips, paid leaves, fringe benefits, or other taxable wages earned by the employee must be added into the Gross wages.


Step 2 – Subtracting Pre-Tax Deductions (If Any):

Once you are done with Gross Wages, it's time to subtract any Pre-Tax deductions from the gross wage to get taxable wages as Pre-tax deductions are not taxable for federal payroll taxes.

Pre-tax deductions are offered to the employees as benefits like fringe benefits, HSA plans, etc., to reduce their taxable income, hence, increasing their take-home pay amount. Remember, not all benefits are exempted from taxes, so choose the pre-tax deductions wisely.

Some of the common pre-tax deductible benefits are:

  • FSA - Flexible Spending Accounts
  • HSA - Health Savings Accounts
  • Retirement savings accounts like a traditional 401(k)
  • Some of the Fringe Benefits
  • health insurance
  • accident insurance
  • dental and vision insurance
  • Commuter Benefits
  • Short-Term Disability

Note: Pre-Tax deduction rate, contribution limits, special tax withholding rules change from year to year, according to inflation and costs of living by the federal government. Therefore, you must keep yourself updated with all rates before making any deductions.

Many Taxpayers find it hard to itemize their deductions to calculate taxable wages, for which they go for standard deductions, that varies according to the filing status, as shown in the table below:

All Filers(Updated Dec 2019)
Filing Status Standard Deduction Amount
Single Filers $12,200
Married, Filing Jointly $24,400
Married, Filing Separately $12,200
Head of Household $18,350

Step 3 – Calculate and Subtract Federal Taxes:

Once you have determined the taxable wages, it's time to deduct Federal Income taxes for the taxable wages.

IRS requires the employers to withhold federal income tax from the employee's paycheck, according to the details provided by the employee on Form W-4. The employee fills this form at the start of the job. The form includes all the necessary information, including income, number of allowances to claim, number of dependents, amount of additional taxes to deduct, and much more.

The employees are required to keep their Form W-4 up to date with all their current information, especially marriage, divorce, or child's birth.


The federal income tax is charged according to the tax brackets in which the taxpayer's income falls. The latest income tax brackets and rates are as follow:

Single Filers
Taxable Income Rate
$0 - $9,700 10%
$9,700 - $39,475 12%
$39,475 - $84,200 22%
$84,200 - $160,725 24%
$160,725 - $204,100 32%
$204,100 - $510,300 35%
$510,300+ 37%

Married, Filing Jointly
Taxable Income Rate
$0 - $19,400 10%
$19,400 - $78,950 12%
$78,950 - $168,400 22%
$168,400 - $321,450 24%
$321,450 - $408,200 32%
$408,200 - $612,350 35%
$612,350+ 37%

Married, Filing Separately
Taxable Income Rate
$0 - $9,700 10%
$9,700 - $39,475 12%
$39,475 - $84,200 22%
$84,200 - $160,725 24%
$160,725 - $204,100 32%
$204,100 - $306,175 35%
$306,175+ 37%

Head of Household
Taxable Income Rate
$0 - $13,850 10%
$13,850 - $52,850 12%
$52,850 - $84,200 22%
$84,200 - $160,700 24%
$160,700 - $204,100 32%
$204,100 - $510,300 35%
$510,300+ 37%

Step 4 – Deduct FICA Taxes:

Besides, Federal Income Tax, the IRS also requires the employer to withhold FICA tax (15.3%) for the employee's paycheck and also requires the employer to pay an equal amount for each employee.


Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) Taxes comprises of two types of taxes which are as follow:


  1. Social Security:

A total of 12.4% of social security tax is charged from which 6.2% is withheld from the employee's gross, and the employer pays the matching 6.2%. However, Social Security is only charged on the maximum taxable earnings of $137,700 for 2020.


  1. Medicare:

A total of 2.9% of Medicare is charged, from which 1.45% is withheld from the employee's gross, and the employer pays the matching 1.45%. Unlike Social Security, there is no maximum table earning limit for this tax. However, an additional surtax of 0.9% is charged as Additional Medicare Surtax on the employees having income over the specified level along with filing status, which is as follow:

Income Over Filing Status
$250,000 Married Filing Jointly
$125,000 Married Filing Separately
$200,000 Single

Note: Employers are not required to pay an equal amount for Additional Medicare Surtax.

Step 5 – Payment of FUTA Taxes

IRS requires the employer to pay another tax, known as The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) Tax. This tax is paid at the rate of 6% on the first $7000 earned by each employee in a year. However, the IRS doesn't require the employees to contribute to it.

The employers who pay State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) tax in full and on time are given relieving FUTA tax credit of up to 5.4%, which saves a whopping 90% from FUTA Tax.


Step 6 – Subtract Post-Tax Deductions (If any):

Post-tax deductions (after-tax deductions) is an amount the employer takes out from the employee's paycheck after taxes. Therefore, it does not affect taxable wages and the amount of tax payable.

Here are some of the types of post-tax deductions that employee may voluntarily choose:

  • Charitable contributions
  • Disability insurance
  • Garnishments
  • Specific Retirement Plans like Roth 401(k)
  • Life Insurance

Step 7 – Withhold State Payroll Taxes:

As you are done with Federal Payroll Taxes, now it's time to discuss State Payroll Taxes. Luckily, there are no state income taxes in Washington charged on the employee's paycheck. However, State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) Tax on the employers, as well as both employers and employees have to contribute to Washington Workers' Compensation.


State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) Tax

The State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) Tax is an employer-funded program that provides temporary income to unemployed workers who have lost their job without fault of their own.

The state doesn't charge in Washington State Disability Insurance (SDI) tax on employers. However, it does require the employers to pay Washington State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) tax, at the rate ranging 0.13% to 5.72% on a first $52,700 earned in wages by each employee in a year. However, new employers are charged according to the average industry rate ranging between 1% and 5.4%. Moreover, employers are also required to pay the Employment Administration Fund assessment of 0.03%.


Note: SUI Rates for Washington Employers change with time. Therefore, you are required to keep a check on notices to make sure you have paid the right amount.

Workers' Compensation Tax

This tax is charged on both employers and employees according to the hourly rate. Its rates are charged by the Department of Labor & Industries based upon the difficulty of the job being performed.


Step 8 – Withhold Local Payroll Taxes:

No city or county in Washington levies Local Income Tax


Step 9 – Calculate Pay Check:

Now that you are done with all payroll taxes and calculated the net take-home pay of an employee, it's time to cut the paycheck. Moreover, you, as an employer, must pay your portion of FICA tax along with FUTA and SUI tax in full and on time regularly.


Federal and Washington Payroll Laws

  • Washington State law requires the employers to pay at least once a month to their employees on established paydays that must be within ten days after the pay period ends.
  • The State law requires the employers to pay at least the state minimum wage rate of $13.50 per hour to their employees, unless or otherwise exempted. Moreover, employers are also required to pay overtime to their non-exempted employees who work more than 40 hours in a 7-day workweek at least 1.5 times the employee's regular hourly rate. Employees exempted from overtime, and minimum wage law includes:
    • bona fide executive;
    • bona fide administrative;
    • bona fide professional;
    • bona fide computer professional, or outside sales and few more.
  • Employees have a right under Washington law to take rest breaks of at least 10 minutes for every 4 hours worked and meal breaks of at least 30 minutes long that must start between the second and fifth hours of the shift if the employee works more than five hours in a shift.
  • Employers in Washington are not required to provide either paid or unpaid vacation benefits, holiday leaves, jury duty leaves, voting leaves, or bereavement leave. However, they are required to pay sick leaves to their employees at least one hour for every 40 hours the employee work. More details about the leaves can be found here.
Also Check: Washington Sales and Reverse Sales tax Calculator to Calculate the amount of tax included in a gross price as well as the amount you should add to a net price.

FAQs

Answer: Below is the list of taxes and their rates withheld from an employee's paycheck in Washington State:

  • Federal Income Tax: This tax is charged at a progressive rate ranging between 0% and 37%, distributed in seven tax brackets according to income level and filing status.
  • FICA Tax – Social Security: This tax is charged with 6.2% of the employee's first taxable earning of $137,700/year.
  • FICA Tax – Medicare: This tax is charged at 1.45% of the employee's first taxable earning of $200,000/year.
  • FICA Tax – Additional Medicare: if the taxable earning of an employee exceeds $200,000 threshold, then the employee only is charged with an Additional Medicare surtax of 0.9%.
  • Washington Workers' Compensation: This tax is levied at the rate provided by the Department of Labor & Industries depending difficulty of the job being performed.

Answer: Below is the list of payroll taxes and their rates charged on employers and employees in Washington State:

  • Federal Income Tax: This tax is charged on employees only at a progressive rate ranging between 0% and 37%, distributed in seven tax brackets according to income level and filing status.
  • FICA Tax – Social Security: This tax is charged on employees at 6.2% of the employee's first taxable earning of $137,700/year. The employer pays an equal amount for each employee.
  • FICA Tax – Medicare: This tax is charged on employees at 1.45% of the employee's first taxable earning of $200,000/year. The employer pays an equal amount for each employee.
  • FICA Tax – Additional Medicare: if the taxable earning of an employee exceeds $200,000 threshold, the employee only is charged with an Additional Medicare surtax of 0.9%.
  • FUTA Tax: This tax is charged on employers at the rate of 6% of the first $7,000 of each employee's taxable income.
  • Washington Workers' Compensation: This tax is levied from both employers and employees at the rate provided by the Department of Labor & Industries depending difficulty of the job being performed.
  • State Unemployment Insurance Tax: This tax is charged on employers only at the rate ranging from 0.13% to 5.72% on the Maximum 2020 Taxable Earnings of $52,700 for each employee. However, new employers are charged according to the average industry rate ranging between 1% and 5.4%.

Answer: Luckily, there are no state or local income taxes in Washington charged on the employee's paycheck.

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