What Is the W-4 Form? Here’s Your Simple Guide

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Enrolled Agents do not provide legal representation; signed Power of Attorney required. Most people do not meet these criteria, but if you do, then by all means claim exempt from withholding on your W-4 form. Those claiming exempt must remember to do so each year with a new W-4 form. If you have a simple tax return, you can file for free with TurboTax Free Edition or TurboTax Live Assisted Basic.

  • If you also withheld money from an employee’s wages for voluntary contributions, such as a retirement plan, you report that here too.
  • Remind employees to submit a new W-4, before December 1 each year.
  • Getting married, having a child, and increases in tax deductions are potential reasons to decrease your withholding.
  • This will be based on their wage, as well as the number of allowances they qualify for.
  • You need to submit a new W-4 form each year if you want to claim exemption from withholding tax.

Whatever your case is, here are the step-by-step instructions to ensure that the W-4 form is filled in accurately. Accurately completing Form W-4 is particularly important because it directly affects how much your paycheck amount will be every time you get paid. An employer can reject a form if the employee has revealed to them that the data is false. If the form contains information that the employerbelievesto be false, he or she cannot reject it. But, if the form has been illegally altered, the employer can request a new copy.

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Quarterly how to fill out w4ments can also be required for a few years as a penalty for under withholding more than a nominal amount. There are specialized versions of the W-4 Form for other types of payment; for example, W-4P for pensions, and the voluntary W-4V for certain government payments such as unemployment compensation. The W-4 form makes it easy to adjust your withholding to account for certain tax credits and deductions. There are clear lines on the W-4 form to add these amounts — you can’t miss them. Including credits and deductions on the form will decrease the amount of tax withheld, which in turn increases the amount of your paycheck and reduces any refund you may get when you file your tax return. The right amount or balanced amount of tax withholding per pay period for the tax year keeps you from paying all your taxes at once when you file your income tax return or ITR.

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W4 Form Tax Withholding

Again, the IRS provides detailed instructions on how to complete each box within the W-2. You must submit all W-2 forms to the Social Security Administration, either by mail or electronically. Additionally, you must also distribute completed W-2 forms to all of your employees each year, no later than Jan. 31. You may also have to file a copy with your state or local tax department.

It also reports how much federal income tax you withheld. The amount of taxes you withhold will depend on the employee’s total wages for the year. If your taxes are more complicated, it will probably take you more time to complete a W-4 form. That’s because you’ll have to dig up information about your spouse’s income, your dependents, tax credits, and the deductions you expect to claim.

Who needs to fill out a W-4 form?

Generally, the letter instructs the employer to withhold federal income tax at a higher rate. In the past, the W-4 was based on a system of withholding allowances. You typically filed a new form when you started a job or needed to adjust your tax withholding. The IRS replaced the method for determining the amount to withhold beginning in 2020 to reduce the complexity of calculating how much to withhold from each paycheck. It also changed the W-4 Form to increase the understanding and accuracy of the withholding system. The IRS uses information reported on Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement to identify employees with withholding compliance problems.


Past performance is not indicative of future results. For example, before 2020, an employee with one child could claim one allowance. Dependents under 17 have a dependent amount of $2,000, while dependents over 17 have a $500 amount.