Ah I see what you’re saying! I’d have to dig out my pay stubs to check if they were already withholding taxes from that portion throughout the year. The pension contributions are noted in a separate area of the stub that makes it LOOK like they’re pre-tax, but it’s very possible that taxes on them were already withheld. If I’d thought to look at that throughout the year, I might have noticed that taxes were being withheld from what I thought were pre-tax contributions and figured this out sooner.
Either way though, since I know I’m withholding more than I need to, I estimate my own tax bill and my expected refund based on the assumptions I’m going in with. Since I assumed that $7K was pre-tax, I mentally subtracted it from my AGI when I made those estimates.
I would love to know this process works in other countries. I started this episode of Planet Money (still need to finish it) and hear Australians talking about how they had no idea when their tax day was. They were amazed that it was such a headache in the U.S.