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Taxes impact on seasonal jobs

IRS seasonal job postcard 2018

If you're looking for a job to boost your holiday spending budget, the Internal Revenue Service might be able to help.

I got the postcard shown above in today's mail. No, even though I write about taxes, I'm not special in the IRS' eyes — and that's fine with me. The taxman doesn't have to pay me any extra attention at all, ever!

The postcard was addressed to "Resident" so all my neighbors got one. Probably most Austin area folks did, too.

Seasonal hiring ritual: There's an IRS facility in the Texas capital and almost every year as the holidays near, a similar postcard letting folks know about temporary and seasonal IRS jobs arrives.

The card says prospective employees can earn extra money, gain new skills and help fund America's future.

Clerk, data transcription and tax examiner positions are among the openings touted on the postcard.

IRS openings nationwide: I'm presuming since it was mailed here in Central Texas, those openings are at the Austin IRS campus.

But even though the IRS has consolidated many of its operations and downsized as it's turned to more electronic operations, it still has physical sites across the country.

There are IRS facilities in Andover, Massachusetts; Austin, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; Fresno, California; Kansas City, Missouri; Ogden, Utah; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Online job hunting: Don't, however, go knock on those operations' front doors. Your best bet if you're looking to work for the IRS is to go online. Current IRS available positions are listed at a special jobs web page.

At that IRS website page, you find more on creating an account, which you must do to save search results or apply for jobs.

The IRS says new jobs at the agency can post daily Monday through Friday, so it recommends you search often.

Hiring designation affects taxes: Whether you get a seasonal job at the IRS or a private-sector employer, remember that it will not only put more money in your pocket, but also affect your eventual 2018 tax bill.

If you're hired as an employee, make sure you take the added income into account when figuring your withholding.

All your income sources will affect whether you have enough taken out of your pay so that you don't owe a tax bill (and possible penalty!) when you file your return next year.

If you can, do a paycheck checkup and use the IRS' online withholding calculator before you fill out your W-4 for your seasonal job.

If, on the other hand, you're hired as a contractor, remember that you'll be responsible for getting your income taxes to the U.S. Treasury, typically by making estimated tax payments.

Jobs you get now through Dec. 31 and where your pay isn't subject to withholding are covered in the final earnings period for estimated taxes. That payment will be due on Jan. 15, 2019.

No more job search write-off: Also remember that job search expenses are no longer tax deductible.

These costs were part of the miscellaneous expenses category on Schedule A. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, however, eliminated that segment of itemized deductions.

True, not many people were able to claim job search costs anyway because miscellaneous expenses had to exceed 2 percent of the filer's adjusted gross income. But I wanted to point it out in case you've been hanging onto or plan to save such receipts. You can toss them.

I know taxes, either from paycheck withholding or via estimated payments, and other work-related tax matters are a pain.

And I also realize that taxes will take a bite out of the extra cash you're hoping to stash this holiday season.

But when it comes to taxes owed or work-related deductions available (or not), it's also better to know now about them beforehand.

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