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Kiersten Essenpreis for Money

Four months ago, President Trump signed an executive memorandum allowing employers to temporarily suspend the 6.2% federal payroll tax withholdings that go toward Social Security. The so-called "tax holiday" made paychecks bigger for eligible workers while the program was in effect, from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. But now that the expiration date for this program is fast approaching, employees who benefitted may be in for a shock — because all of those deferred tax withholdings will have to be paid off.

The idea of temporarily lowering payroll taxes was supposed to put more money in workers' hands and help stimulate the economy, while also reducing hiring costs and incentivizing companies to hire new employees. A worker could have received as much as an extra $248 per paycheck if their employer participated in the program. But come January, the money that went unpaid to the feds for four months will need to be paid back. That means employees could see as much as 12.4% withheld per pay period from Jan. 1 through April 30.

Here’s how you can find out whether or not the payroll tax holiday has been affecting your paycheck, and, if it has, how to prepare for when it ends:

Payroll Tax Holiday Eligibility: Who Participated?