Free Salary Payroll Calculator

This free salary paycheck calculator can help you determine how much to send your employees home with at the end of the day—and how much to remit to the IRS each quarter.

No one would call payroll taxes the easiest part of paying employees, but the right tools can make the process a little less, shall we say, taxing. For instance, a paycheck calculator can calculate your employees' gross earnings, federal income tax withholding, Medicare and Social Security tax, and final take-home pay.

Get an accurate read on your salaried employees' withholding amounts and net pay using our free paycheck calculator below.

Paycheck calculators vs. payroll software
Salary paycheck calculators aren't the most foolproof way to calculate employees' take-home pay. After all, since you're entering numbers by hand, you can't rule out the possibility of typos and miscalculations. That's why we don't recommend using paycheck calculators unless you have just a few employees—and even then, payroll software can help ensure you're paying both your employees and the IRS the right amount.
Save time with Gusto
Does calculating payroll taxes by hand sound like a hassle? Gusto's payroll software automates the entire process for you, from filing payroll taxes to direct-depositing your employees' paychecks each payday.

Step 1: Enter employee withholding information

To deduct the right amount from an individual employee's gross pay, you need the information listed on your employee's W-4 sheet:

  • Filing status (single, married, or married but withholding at higher single rate)
  • Number of allowances
  • Additional tax withholding

Plus, depending on your company's benefits, employees might elect to withhold money for HSA contributions, 401K retirement plans, or charitable donations. Make sure you have that info handy too.

Finally, some employees are eligible for exemptions from federal and state income taxes and FICA taxes (or Medicare and Social Security taxes). Very few employees qualify for these exemptions, so you probably won't have to worry about it. But if your employees do qualify, just enter yes when the calculator asks if your employees are exempt or not.

Step 2: Enter employee salary information

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Next, make sure you have key salary information for the employee whose paycheck you're calculating:

  • Employee gross earnings
  • Pay frequency (weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly)
  • Additional earnings, such as bonuses or overtime

Step 3: Enter state information

Not all states require an income tax, and tax rates vary from state to state. If your employee works in a state that does impose an income tax, just choose the state from the drop-down menu and the calculator will fill in the tax details for you.

Some employees might ask you to withhold an additional amount in state income tax. If so, have that information on hand so you can deduct the right amount from your employee's gross pay.

Paycheck calculator FAQ

What taxes come out of an employee's paycheck?

Employers are required to withhold the following taxes from their employees' paychecks:

  • Federal income tax
  • State income tax (if required by your state)
  • Medicare tax
  • Social Security tax

As an employer, you withhold these taxes from your employees' wages each pay period and remit them to the IRS quarterly.

Use payroll software to do the work

What is take-home pay?

Take-home pay is an employee's net pay. In other words, it's the amount of money the employee takes home each pay period after the employer withholds taxes and other deductions from their gross wages.

How do you calculate take-home pay for hourly employees?

To calculate an hourly employee's take-home pay for the pay period, use this free calculator for hourly wages.

Tired of payroll? Gusto handles payroll taxes and more

With unlimited payroll runs and automatic tax filing, Gusto helps small-business owners worry less about payroll and put more time into growing their business.

  • Get automatic payroll tax filing, including end-of-year tax forms
  • Manage workers compensation insurance
  • Track paid time off, sick leave, and holiday pay

The takeaway

If you need to calculate an employee's take-home pay in a jiffy, our paycheck calculator can help you out. But if you have more than one or two employees and are tired of running the same calculations over and over, payroll software can take the task off your hands—including filing taxes on your behalf.

Interested in payroll software but don't want to budget for it quite yet? Check out our list of the year's best free payroll software for small-business owners.


At, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Kylie McQuarrie
Written by
Kylie McQuarrie
Kylie is an accounting writer for Kylie spent two of the last four years writing for and with small-business owners—from dentists in Australia to plumbers in the Midwest. She spent the other two writing in depth about internet and security. She’s passionate about reading, hiking, and dedicating every spare second to writing for fun (at lunch, between meetings, on the train, before breakfast . . . ). Her content helps small-business owners tackle the logistics of running a business so they can focus more on their passions too.
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