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Withholdings are no longer based on your personal or dependency exemptions
This could impact your refund or what you owe. We’ll help you understand them so you’re not surprised.
You’ll need to factor in your total household income from all sources to complete the new W-4 form
Update if you have a new job, had children, got married, or had a significant income change
The new W-4 form takes effect starting January 1, 2020
You could incur penalties if you do not withhold enough throughout the year
Enter your up-to-date personal information including your filing status
Enter income for multiple jobs and/or if your spouse works
Enter additional withholdings and additional income from things like investments
Sign your updated W-4 Form and give it to your employer
Steps 2–4 are optional contingent on your current life situation
The new design simplifies the form and increases the transparency of the withholding system. The form uses the same information in a different way to make accurate withholding easier.
You’ll provide your completed Form W-4 to your employer.
If you have an older W-4 on file with your employer and you’re happy with your previous refund amount, you won’t need to complete a new one just because the form changed.
You should complete a new W-4 when you start a new job, get married, or have a child if you want more accurate withholding. It’s also a good idea to update your W-4 if someone in your household starts a new job.
The form was redesigned to more closely match your withholding with your tax liability, which reduces the likelihood of a refund.
Two ways you can withhold more include:
Whether you will be due a refund – and how much – depends on the details of your entire tax situation.
The only two steps required for all employees are Step 1, where you enter personal information like your name and filing status, and Step 5, where you sign the form.
Completing Steps 2 – 4 (if applicable) means your withholding should more accurately reflect your tax liability.
You should increase your withholding if:
Without these adjustments you will likely owe additional tax when filing your tax return, and you may owe interest and penalties.
*For income from other sources, you can pay estimated tax instead of having extra withholding.
You should decrease your withholding if:
The income from additional jobs may put you into a higher tax bracket, which has higher tax rates. To account for that, you should generally withhold more money from the combined pay compared to what you would withhold for each job alone.
Multiple job withholding adjustment tips
If you have self-employment income, you’ll generally owe self-employment tax along with income tax. With this type of income, you will not have withholding.
You can either:
Yes. The IRS has a Tax Withholding Estimator at https://apps.irs.gov/app/tax-withholding-estimator that will be updated for the new form in January.
H&R Block will also have a new calculator in 2020.
Note: The questions and answers above were based on FAQs from the IRS.
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