The Who, What, Why, Where, and How of the New W-4 (Employee’s Withholding Certificate)
What has changed?
- Form W-4 is now titled as Employee’s Withholding Certificate for years 2020 onward.
- This new W-4 form has been simplified and is more straight forward for both employers and employees.
Why did the W-4 form change?
- In 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act took effect. The revised W-4 form reflects tax code changes from this act.
Who do the changes affect?
- Employees hired as of January 1, 2020, at a new place of employment or with a new employer, will need to complete the new W-4 form.
- Employees with a 2019 (or earlier version) of the W-4 on file with a current employer, are not required to complete the new W-4 form.
- Note: if you fall into this category and you would like to adjust your withholding, you will need to complete the new W-4 form
How has it changed?
- W-4 versions prior to 2020 were tied to personal exemptions and withholding allowances which is no longer the case.
- The new W-4 form is now one page long with only five steps, of which you only need to complete two.
- Step 1:
- Personal information (Name, Social Security Number, Address)
- Filing status (Single or Married Separate, Married Jointly, or Head of Household)
- Step 5: Signature
- Step 2:
Complete if you 1) Hold more than one job OR 2) are married, filing jointly and your spouse works
- Step 3:
Complete if you’d like to claim dependents and take deductions other than the standard deduction
- Step 4:
Complete should you want extra taxes withheld for any reason
Where to find more information?
If you need more information on the new W-4 form, here are some helpful links:
- See the New W-4 here
- Compare the Old and New W-4 here
- Need assistance in completing the new W-4? The IRS has a Tax Withholding Estimator online to help you out
- Lastly, here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the W-4
About the Author
Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach