How to fill out an IRS W-4 Form: Step by step

If you do not understand why you are asked to fill out a W-4 form, in this article we tell you all the details you should take into account, and the step-by-step to fill it out.

How to fill out a W-4 Form: Step by step

In case your employer asks you to fill out a W-4 form, don’t worry, it is to prove and verify that the taxes withheld on your checks are true and that all the information is correct.

When you fill out a W-4 form, you will be able to communicate your particular situation, that is, if you are filling out this form for the first time, or if you are updating it due to a change in your information.

FACT: This form is also required when you are hired to work from home (online).

What is the W-4 form

As mentioned above, the W-4 form is a tool for employers to corroborate their employees’ information. This form is requested by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the entity in charge of tax returns in the United States, according to its federal laws.

When you get a job, either remote or temporary, one of the main steps you must take is to fill out a W-4 form, in which you must answer different questions about your personal information, such as if you are head of household, if the family unit receives other income, monthly income and marital status, among many other boxes that you must complete.

Why do I have to fill out a W-4 form

This whole process is so that the employer can decide what tax to withhold from your paycheck. If you are wondering what the withholding taxes are used for, the answer lies with the federal and state governments, which use these taxes to pay for benefits such as education, road repair and construction, social security, Medicare for retirees over 65, and many other operations for social well-being.

By filling out the W-4 form, each citizen is guaranteed to pay a certain amount of money for taxes according to his or her current situation, which depends on the factors mentioned above (household income, dependents, monthly salary, marital status, etc.).

Advantages of filling out the updated W-4 form

It is not very pleasant to have to fill out forms, but this form is easy to complete, one of the advantages of doing this process. In addition, the IRS has updated this form to make it a simple process. Here are some of the advantages of this new W-4 form.

Easy-to-follow instructions for multi-income households

Individuals who choose the option of having other sources of income in the family, or household, will only have to choose between three categories in the second section of the form, which makes it a simpler and faster process than the previous form.

Less calculations

In the old form, the calculation of each citizen’s allowances was requested, something that used to cause confusion among people. In the new and updated W-4 form, only simple questions about the number of people living together and contributing income to the household must be answered.

Thanks to this new format, the often confusing questions asking about allowances and the corresponding calculations have been eliminated.

You only need to follow five steps to fill out the W-4 form

The new W-4 form, as we said earlier, is much simpler to complete, to the point that you only have to follow five simple steps, including the signature. This advantage helps to save time, as there are fewer sections to complete for people who have only one source of income, are single and/or have no dependents.

How to fill out the new W-4 form: Step by Step

We have already said that to fill out a W-4 form is very simple and you will only have to follow five steps, which will take you much less time than if you had to fill out the old form. Here are the steps you need to follow to fill out a W-4 form without any inconvenience.

How to fill out a W-4 Form: Step by step

1. Personal Information

In the first section that the IRS requests when you fill out a W-4 form, you must complete all the personal information requested (name, address, SSN -Social Security Number-, and marital status). This last one must be detailed in section C of this first step.

Among the information you will need to provide about your marital status, you will have the following three options:

  • Single or married filing separately: This box is for those who file returns individually.
  • Married filing jointly: This option is for those who file tax returns jointly with their partner or spouse.

IMPORTANT: This option applies to family or household units with multiple or single incomes, such as widows or widowers (if they qualify).

  • Head of Household: This box is for single persons who assume more than half of the mortgage, rent or utility expenses necessary to support the household.

NOTE: By household we mean two or more people living together.

2. Declare another income

In this section you must add information about other income that contributes to the monthly household income. This part is for people with a partner or spouse, who must declare that they have more than one income.

If you are single, do not have a second income and do not file a joint return, you can skip this step.

3. Number of sources of income

If the number of sources of income or jobs is two, you must check the option in section C of the previous step.

If, on the other hand, there are more than two sources of income for the household, you will need to follow the instructions on the third page, which is the multiple jobs worksheet. If this is your case, you will need this information for the next step.

4. Estimated Deductions Calculation

This section is optional, as it is dedicated to people who intend to itemize deductions on their tax return.

In case there are more than two family incomes in the household, you can directly use the results from the previous step (the multiple jobs worksheet).

5. Sign and date

Finally, once you have completed the above steps, you must sign and date the W-4 form at the bottom of the document.

How to fill out a W-4 Form: Step by step

By signing the W-4 form, you verify and declare that all data and personal information provided throughout the document is accurate, honest and current.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I update my W-4 form?

You must update your form by December 1 of each year. It is your employer who, according to taxes guidelines, must remind you of this right to renew your W-4 form. In fact, if they do not remind you, you should contact the Human Rights department, where they will tell you how to proceed with the document update.

The renewal of the W-4 form is particularly important if there has been a significant change in your life that may influence the payment of taxes, such as a divorce, marriage, a new member of the family or cohabitation unit, or a new job, among other changes.

Is it necessary to use the new W-4 form?

In this case, if you have already completed a W-4 form previously for your job, and it is in the system, you do not need to complete the new form, unless you want to update the information.

If you are completing this document for the first time, or updating it for a new job, you must use the new form, as required by the tax law.

Where can I select additional withholdings?

For those people who owe more tax than they receive in salary, you must declare additional withholdings, indicating the amount you intend to withhold in section C of the fourth step.

How to claim allowances?

In the new W-4 form, there is no option to claim allowances, but don’t worry, as you can indicate it in section 3, where you will have to do a simple calculation: count the number of dependents you have, and then multiply that number by USD 500 or USD 2000, depending on the ages.