Get ready for a smaller paycheck

Many employees are receiving notices this month that their contribution to their health insurance premiums is increasing. But that’s not all they’re getting from the Democratic Congress: They can also expect higher tax withholding beginning January 1, thanks to the decision Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi made to leave town without voting on whether to let tax rates rise:

Employers in the U.S. are starting to warn their workers to prepare for slimmer paychecks if Congress fails to vote on an extension of Bush-era tax cuts.

“I’ve been doing payroll for probably close to 30 years now, and never have we seen something like this where it gets that down to the wire,” said Dennis Danilewicz, who manages payroll services for about 14,000 employees at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “That’s what’s got a lot of people nervous. All we can do is start preparing communications with a couple of different scenarios.”

Lawmakers won’t start debating whether to extend the cuts, which expire Dec. 31, until after the Nov. 2 elections. Because it takes weeks to prepare withholding schedules, the Internal Revenue Service will probably have to assume the cuts will expire and direct employers to increase payroll deductions starting Jan. 1, experts say.

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