how to fill out a w4 for dummies

There are worksheets in the Form W-4 instructions to help you estimate certain tax deductions you might have coming. The IRS’ W-4 estimator or NerdWallet’s tax calculator can also help. If you itemize your deductions, don’t forget to account for any additional deductions in Step 4 of your W-4 form.

  • This section allows you to list all of your dependents, making sure the appropriate Child Tax Credit amount is deducted from your withholding.
  • Once completed, give the signed form to your employer’s human resources or payroll team.
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  • Get $30 off a tax consultation with a licensed CPA or EA, and we’ll be sure to provide you with a robust, bespoke answer to whatever tax problems you may have.
  • They’ll help make sense of your personal tax situation and guide you toward getting your W-4 right on the money (literally) so you can keep the most cash in your paycheck on payday.

What Is Form W-4 Used For?

If you’re not required to have federal income tax withheld from your paycheck, you can skip ahead to Step 5 (where you sign the W-4 form). You may be exempt from withholding if you didn’t owe any federal tax in the previous tax year and don’t expect to owe any for the current tax year. If you’re filling out a Form W-4, you probably just started a new job. The W-4 also called the Employee’s Withholding Certificate, tells your employer how much federal income tax to withhold from your paycheck. The biggest change is that it no longer talks about “allowances,” which many people found confusing.

What to Know About Withholding Allowances and Deductions on W-4?

It’s essential to review this form periodically, especially after significant life events, to ensure accurate withholding. If you have too much federal income tax withheld, you may receive a huge tax refund. While this may sound like a good thing, getting huge tax refunds every year likely means you’re not making the best use of your paycheck. Instead of receiving a big tax refund, you could be getting that money sooner by having less tax withheld from your salary.

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  • They’ll send you a new form to fill out from scratch and you can input all your information for the current year.
  • If you think you’ll itemize your deductions instead of taking the standard deduction amount for your filing status, you can complete the worksheet on Page 3 of the form and record the result in this section.
  • The agency also releases the form in several languages, including Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
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The new form also provides more privacy in the sense that if you do not want your employer to know you have more than one job, you do not turn in the multiple-job worksheet. Fill in your name, address, Social Security number and tax filing status. Importantly, your tax filing status is the basis for which you might qualify for certain tax credits and deductions, and there are rules about which ones you can use. Your payroll or HR department can supply a new form for you to fill out. Many employers provide an easy way to change your W-4 form online, or you can also print the form directly from the IRS website. The IRS W-4 form also provides a Multiple Jobs Worksheet and a Deductions Worksheet to help you calculate an accurate withholding if these circumstances apply to you.

how to fill out a w4 for dummies

Line 4(a) asks you to tally up all other taxable income not earned from jobs, such as interest, dividends or retirement income. That way, you can deduct the necessary tax out of your paycheck now so you don’t have to pay it later. If your income will be $200,000 or less ($400,000 or less if married filing jointly), then multiply each qualifying child under age 17 by $2,000 and each additional dependent by $500. Maybe you started your first job or maybe you gave up the freelance life for full-time employment.

Are Moving Expenses Tax-Deductible?

Impact on your credit may vary, as credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations. If you want extra tax withheld, or expect to claim deductions other than the standard deduction when you do your taxes, you can note that. Remember, an extension of time to file is not an extension to pay taxes you owe.

  • Use the IRS’s online Tax Withholding Estimator and include the estimate in step 4 (explained below) when applicable.
  • To estimate your deductions, use the Deductions Worksheet provided on page three of the W-4 form.
  • You are required to fill out a W-4 when you start a new job, but you do not have to fill out a new W-4 form every year if you already have one on file with your employer.
  • You can get back the amount you overpay, but only in the new year when you file your tax return.
  • A W-4 with the 0 or 1 question indicates that your employer is using an outdated W-4 form.


She supports small businesses in growing to their first six figures and beyond. Alongside her accounting practice, Sandra is a Money and Life Coach for women in business. The Internal Revenue Service makes annual updates to the W-4, so when you fill out a new form, make sure you have the most recent version. If you are claiming the standard deduction, you likely won’t need to enter anything in section 4(b), but if you plan to itemize, you can note the higher deduction in this section. Lifehacker has been a go-to source of tech help and life advice since 2005. Our mission is to offer reliable tech help and credible, practical, science-based life advice to help you live better.

how to fill out a w4 for dummies

In the following article, we’ll explain more about what a W4 tax form is and how to fill out a W-4 step-by-step so you can maintain an accurate federal income tax filing status. (If you’re using the online estimator, this number will be located under the subhed “How to Adjust Your Withholding.”) This extra withholding number goes on your W-4 form under Step 4, line 4(c). The new W-4 form was designed to create the most accurate withholding for all taxpayers.