In its most general sense, the term withhold also means to refuse to give someone something that they want. If you keep something back and don’t share it, you withhold it. You can withhold things such as permission, emotions, or information.
For example, in October 2012, a UK court ruled that a hospital trust can withhold life-saving treatment from a severely brain-damaged man if his condition deteriorates. You might get into trouble if you withhold information from the police or an authority.
The term can also be used to refer to the action of an employer who takes away the tax from an employee’s salary and to sends it directly to the state. Withholding can reduce the amount of tax employees must pay when they submit their annual tax returns. The amount withheld is based on the employee’s income, marital status, number of dependents and number of jobs. When too much money is withheld, it is returned to the employee as a tax refund.