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IRS Has New W-4 Coming Next Year

November 19th, 2019

IRS New W-4

Big changes are coming to the form employers use to know how much federal income tax to withhold.

Two years ago, when Congress enacted the sweeping changes of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, it eliminated personal and dependent exemptions. Previously, these exemptions were typically reflected on the W-4 workers filled out to tell payroll how much tax to take out of their paycheck.

Now, the IRS has a new W-4. It's not yet official, but the IRS has a draft online that is likely to be the one it will adopt.

Rather than having employees check how many exemptions they want, the new W-4 provides for multiple jobs and other situations requiring extra withholding. For most, workers, the new W-4 is as simple as checking whether they''ll be filing:

  • Single or married and filing separately
  • Married and filing jointly, or
  • Head of household.

Only new workers or those who want to make a change must fill out the new W-4. However, the IRS is urging everyone to use the Tax Withholding Estimator to avoid being surprised at tax time by having too little tax taken out. On the other hand, the estimator will also let you know if you're likely to get a refund. In either of those cases, you may want to file a new W-4.

If you're satisfied with the way things are now, then do nothing. Employers will use your existing W-4 and the new tax tables to calculate how much to withhold. An employer may ask all employees to fill out the redesigned W-4, but there's no legal requirement for that. Employers must inform existing workers that submitting a new W-4 is entirely optional.

For additional information for both employees and employers, the IRS has an FAQ available.

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