Withholding Allowances in content page of articles
Form W-4 is the form you file with your employer so that your employer can withhold the correct federal income tax from your pay. It shows:
If you're married or single
How many withholding allowances you should claim. The more allowances you claim, the less tax is withheld.
Since your circumstances might change from year to year, review your withholding allowances each year. In 2012, each allowance you claim reduces your taxable income by $3,800 . If you claim more allowances than you have a reasonable basis for, the IRS can penalize you.
If you received a large refund, consider increasing the number of allowances you claim so less tax is withheld. If you paid the IRS a large sum when you filed your return, decrease the number of allowances you claim.
If you don't file Form W-4, your employer must withhold tax from your wages at the highest rate -- as though you're single with 0 allowances.
After claiming the allowances for yourself and your dependents, you can add extra allowances if:
You’re single and have only 1 job.
You’re married, have only 1 job, and your spouse doesn't work.
Your wages from a second job or your spouse's wages are $1,500 or less.
You have at least $1,900 of child- or dependent-care expenses and will claim a tax credit for these costs.
You’ll file your return as a head of household.
You’ll claim child credits -- which are worth $1,000 for each eligible child. The number of allowances you claim depends upon the number of eligible children and your income.
Other life changes that might determine your Form W-4 allowances include:
Marriage or divorce
Birth or adoption of a child
Purchase of a new home
New job or second job
Increase in interest, dividend, or self-employment income
Increase in your itemized deductions
Exemption From Withholding
You must have withholding if all of these apply:
Your income for 2012 is more than $950 .
You have more than $300 of unearned income. Unearned income includes interest on savings accounts and mutual fund dividends.
If no one can claim you as a dependent, you can make much more and still be exempt from withholding.
The IRS might ask your employer to submit your W-4 form if both of these are true:
You earn $200 a week or more.
You claim the exemption from withholding on your W-4.
If the IRS questions the number of exemptions you claim, you’ll have to justify your claim.
Working Couples and Withholding
If both you and your spouse are employed, figure the total allowances you’re both entitled to. Then, divide those total allowances between you and your spouse. The W-4 has a special worksheet for 2-earner couples. It helps you and your spouse figure the number of allowances you should each claim based on each income.
Withholding and Retirement Income
You can choose to have federal income taxes withheld from your:
Traditional IRA withdrawals
Social Security benefits
With other retirement plans, you might need to file a form with the payer to stop required withholding. If you don't complete withholding forms for pension benefits, taxes will be withheld as though you were married and claiming 3 exemptions. So, taxes will only be withheld if your pension is at least $1,640 per month.
You should re-evaluate each year to see if you want to have taxes withheld. Use Form W-4P to have taxes withheld from your:
Use Form W-4V: Voluntary Withholding Request to have taxes withheld from Social Security. Choose 1 of these rates for Social-Security withholding:
To learn more, see IRS Publication 505.
Lump-Sum Pension Payout
You might have received a lump-sum payment from your retirement plan. If so, the plan administrator must withhold 20% for federal income taxes.
If you plan to roll the money over into an IRA or another tax-free pension plan yourself, the tax withholding requirement is 20%. This applies even if you retire, quit, or are laid off. If 20% is withheld, you’d be prepaying tax you might not owe -- especially if you roll over the distribution within 60 days.
So, if you handle the rollover yourself by taking the check and depositing it in a rollover IRA within 60 days:
Your plan administrator will withhold 20% of your distribution.
Unless you include the amount equal to the 20% withholding from another source, you won't have enough to put the full payment into an IRA.
The IRS will tax and possibly penalize any part of the gross distribution that's not rolled into an IRA within 60 days.
To avoid having 20% withheld from your distribution, you should do a direct rollover. To do a direct rollover:
Tell your employer you want to roll the funds over directly to another plan or IRA.
Provide your employer with the information about the account that’s to receive the rollover funds.
Your employer will transfer the funds directly to the other account without withholding any taxes.
If done this way, the transaction will be tax-free to you.
Tips and Withholding
All tips you receive are taxable income subject to withholding. If you receive $20 or more per month in tips, report that income to your employer.
Tip income you report will show up on Form W-2, box 7 (Social Security tips) and box 1 (Wages). To learn more, see the Tip Income tax tip.