How to Fill Out a W-4—Plus, 7 Reasons to Adjust Your Tax Withholding

Confused about how to fill out a W-4 at work? Laura explains what it is and how to complete it correctly. Plus, you'll learn 7 reasons when you should adjust your withholding so your employer doesn’t take out the wrong amount or leave you with an unexpected tax bill.  

Laura Adams, MBA
Episode #490


How to Change Your W-4 Tax Withholding

Changing your W-4 is easy to do on paper or electronically. You can print out the fillable form, sign it, and send it to your employer (or agency that handles your payroll). You don’t need to submit it to the IRS. Some payroll systems, like ADP, allow you to complete and sign your W-4 electronically.

If you need help figuring out if you should change a W-4, don’t ask your employer because it’s not their responsibility to guide you. Check out these free resources and tools to help you figure out your ideal number of allowances:

When you figure your allowances and get a different result than your current withholding, submit a new form to your employer. Just remember that changes aren’t retroactive for the year, they only impact your future paychecks.

If you have a complex financial situation or just aren’t sure how estimate what your total tax liability will be for the year, be sure to speak with a tax accountant before you submit your W-4 or when you’re ready to revise it.

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W4 Tax Form image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a trusted and frequent source for the national media. Her book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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