A notation for "year-to-date deductions" or "YTD deductions" on your pay stub or other accounting papers generally refers to any money deducted from your income or payments since the beginning of the current calendar year, although occasionally it can refer to the fiscal year instead of the calendar year.
The "to date" portion of "year-to-date" refers to the date the paperwork was prepared, not the date you receive it. For end-of-year paperwork, it can simply refer to deductions taken during a given year, even if the paperwork is prepared a few months after the end of the year. Essentially, "year-to-date deductions" translates to the total amount of money taken out of a person's earnings from January 1 of the current year up until the day the payment statement is prepared.
When an employer pays an employee, federal and sometimes state taxes are taken out of the amount owed to the employee. For example, if you earned $750 in your last pay period based on your hourly rate but only received approximately $710, that is because the other $40 was deducted for specific federal and state funds, and possibly a personal retirement fund. The year-to-date deductions represent the total sum of all the money taken from your paychecks for a given year.
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Your tax forms, such as the W-2 forms you receive from your employer after the end of the calendar year, will have a total of the taxes you paid for that year. Box 2 on this form shows your year-to-date federal taxes paid, while box 4 shows your year-to-date Social Security contributions. Box 17 shows your year-to-date state taxes paid. All of these amounts represent deductions from your paychecks. Regardless of the date you receive your W-2 form, the "year-to-date" deductions refers to the calendar year for which the W-2 form was issued, which is generally the year prior to when you receive the form.
Tax Payment Deductions
If you pay taxes quarterly or semiannually rather than annually, you most likely calculate your tax deductions for each taxation period to lower the taxes you owe for each three- or six-month cycle. In this case, your year-to-date deductions are the total deductions you have claimed on your tax paperwork for all cycles in the existing year, up through the current cycle. For example, if you pay taxes quarterly and have $1,000 in deductions for each quarter, by the third quarter, your year-to-date deductions equal $3000, and by the end of the year, the deductions equal $4000. In this case, the deductions may not be money taken out for state or federal funds, but may represent business losses, donations, depreciation and other deductible values.