How to Fill Out or Complete a W-4
The W-4 form or Tax Withholding form is an important part of your paycheck and tax return planning. Your W-4(s) determine, to a great extent, if you can expect a tax refund or if you might owe taxes with your next tax return. A W-4 form is required for each wage or salary earning job and can be changed, adjusted, and submitted to an employer as often as needed.
During 2021, the IRS - not eFile.com - delayed many tax return payments, thus managing your tax refund has become even more important. W-4 and Tax Refund details:
- Manage or reduce your tax withholding throughout the year via the W-4 form and keep your money now and throughout the current year. If you do not optimize your withholding, you are handing over too much in YOUR tax withholding to the IRS only to get YOUR MONEY back again next year via your tax return refund.
- Did you know that in 2018 over 113 million tax returns resulted in tax refunds in the amount of over $331 billion dollars1)? Tax refunds are in most cases not the result of free IRS money, but it is often the result of too much taxpayer's money handed over to the IRS as a result of too much paycheck tax withholding, which is the result of insufficient W-4 form planning: Reap what you sow, thus get started sowing with proper W-4 or tax withholding planning. Don't join, or leave this group of 113 million taxpayers who withhold too much in taxes.
- Important: Review this chart and guidelines to get an idea when a tax refund is based on free IRS money or the result of too much tax withholding.
- Thus, we consider most taxpayer's tax return refunds a self-inflicted financial penalty by the taxpayer.
- On top of that, according to the IRS, about 1.2 billion dollars in tax refunds are not being claimed by taxpayers each tax year.
- Read these frequently asked W-4 form questions and answers.
Start the Taxometer for Your W-4 Tool
Complete, Submit a W-4
If your situation applies to at least one of the following statements, we have the tool for you to complete your W-4:
We at eFile.com believe the W-4 is designed in a way that makes it confusing and complicated for a taxpayer to complete the W-4 to make the outcome transparent.
- The W-4 form is not driver-less! Meaning, it's not direct obvious what a tax payer should enter.
- For example, the form does not allow a taxpayer to enter a fixed, per pay period tax withholding amount!
- Plus, even if you complete the form, it does not tell you what your paycheck tax withholding amount will be.
- The eFile.com W-4 Adjust and W-4 Pro tools are addressing all these points unlike the W-4 Basic (not intended for it).
"Taxpayers should not have to wait for their refunds due to delayed IRS return processing!" Lesson learned from 2021
Thus, we at eFile.com have created four W-4 tools, yes 4 tools. Use the Taxometer to pick the right form for you, based on your personal tax planning needs and comfort level.
- Important: The W-4 is your planning tool to manage your tax withholding per paycheck. You submit your W-4 ONLY to your employer for any one given job for the purpose of IRS tax withholding. The W-4 is NOT submitted to the IRS or state tax agency! If you and/or your spouse have multiple jobs at any given time, complete a W-4 for each job separately. In addition, check the state tax withholding requirements for the state where you reside or work.
Since the W-4 is a planning tool, you can adjust your entries for tax withholding purposes. In comparison, you can NOT do this on your tax return as a tax return must be accurate (number of dependents, deductions, income, etc.).
Privacy Statement: The data you enter on the W-4 will NOT be stored or shared with anybody!
Since employees and taxpayers have different experience levels when it comes to the W-4, we have created a solution for each scenario. Start with one of the options listed below or use the Taxometer to pick the best tool for you. If you are not sure, contact an eFile.com Taxpert® so we can guide you through this.
W-4 Form Options
Select a W-4 tool option that is best for you based on your experience, expectation, and comfort level. Keep in mind that a W-4 is completed for each individual job separately. If you don't want to read all the details, let the Taxometer pick the right tool for you.
Use this tool if you have no need for planning or estimating. The W-4 Basic is ideal if you just want to get the W-4 done and see the results on your next paycheck and don't care about the tax return implications - we get IT!
- If you have done all the planning and know all the ins and outs of the W-4, then go W-4 Basic.
- Simply answer the questions (with help instructions) and enter the data needed. Sign the form and the W-4 will be emailed to you. You can also enter the employer's email address and have the form W-4 emailed to them.
- Monitor the tax withholding via your next paycheck(s) and make W-4 corrections or adjustments as needed.
Select this tool if you have your 2020 Tax Return on hand or the 2021 Return in 2022. Tip: eFile.com users find their return(s) is in your My Account - sign in here. All others can get returns via IRS transcripts (short tax return forms) - see how to get a copy of a tax return. Tip: eFile your tax returns at eFile.com and W-4 planning will become a lot easier!
- Follow the W-4 Adjust steps listed on the tool; copy/paste or enter the tax return data and the tool will do the rest.
- The W-4 Adjust tool will let you adjust your tax withholding before you sign and create your W-4 for the current tax year. You will actually know the calculated withholding amount.
Select this tool if you want to create a form W-4 based on your actual or adjusted per pay period paycheck. Since the design of the form W-4 does not enable a taxpayer to enter a fixed IRS tax withholding dollar amount, the W-4-Check calculator is created to let you do just that. Once you created your paycheck that reflects your desired IRS tax withholding amount simply click Create W-4 and you are done. Monitor the tax withholding amount of your subsequent paychecks make necessary adjustment via the W-4-Check tool. Start the W-4-Check tool now.
- Have an existing paycheck from your current job at hand or re-create your paycheck for a new job based on your income.
- Make paycheck adjustments and reflect them on your new W-4 via the W-4-Check tool.
- Contact an eFile.com Taxpert® if you have any questions.
For taxpayers that would like to look into the future or have more than 2 simultaneous jobs and other income (independent contractor
, gig economy
, etc.). The W-4 Pro will be based on estimates, like your wage income, etc. Use your actual paycheck or the eFile.com Paycheck Calculator
to estimate your future income.
- Estimate your 2021 or 2022 Income based on your paychecks for the year.
- Estimate your 2021 or 2022 Income based on the eFile.com your paycheck calculator for the year before you complete the W-4 for one or more jobs. Include any estimated other income for the given year.
- If you and/or your spouse have more than two W-2 jobs at any given time and expect to have other income (self-employment, etc.), then use the W-4-Pro tool to get your tax withholding balanced.
- Keep in mind that you can also use the 1040-ES to pay estimated taxes throughout the year online.
Once you have created the IRS Form W-4 also review the tax withholding forms for applicable states.
- Even if you reside in a state that does not collect income taxes, you still might have to submit a state tax withholding form to the state where you work, e.g. you travel to another state to work, or your employer resides in a different state etc.
- As a general rule, enter the same information on the state tax withholding form as you did on the W-4.
- Once you have submitted your W-4 form and state tax withholding form to your employer - not the IRS or state - monitor your next paycheck for IRS or federal and state tax withholding amounts.
- Continue to adjust your tax withholding forms as often as needed, until you have met your own tax return goals e.g. keep more of your money per paycheck.
- Contact an eFile.com Taxpert® if you have questions.
In summary, we at eFile.com recognize the complexity of the design of the W-4 Form and we are here to assist you at every level. We consider the W-4 Form an important part of your financial and tax return planning. For many reasons, taxpayers have experienced IRS related tax return processing delays in 2021 - not eFile.com delays. These delays have held up tax refund payments for too many taxpayers, thus W-4 planning is important as taxpayers create their own tax return refunds if they withhold too much in taxes per pay period. Manage or reduce your tax withholding now via the W-4 and keep your money now and throughout the current year instead of handing over too much in your tax withholding to the IRS. At the end of the year, you are only getting that same money back again via your tax return refund.
We sympathize with you: If you think that completing a W-4 Form is worse than a dental root canal procedure, we totally get IT! Unfortunately, we do not do root canals and can only help you with the W-4 forms.
Start and click on one of the W-4 tools above as you can always change your mind and use another tool.
1) IRS 2021 Statistics
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