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Suppose that in the United States, my employer overpays me on a check and the money is taxed at a higher rate because of it (including social security withholdings), then on the next paycheck my employer reduced my paycheck to make up for what they overpaid me. It would seem that I just had to pay tax on money I never actually got paid.

What legal avenues could I explore to recover the money I seemingly paid in taxes on income I never actually received?

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Any tax overpayments will be refunded after you file your tax return next year.

Accidental overpayment is just one way this can happen. Another common situation is when a person works for only a few months at what looks like a high annual salary. They'd be taxed as if they were making $120,000 / year, for example, but they only work for three months, so their income ends up only being $40,000. They get money back at tax-return time.

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