Form W-4

The W4 is an IRS tax form that helps employers know the correct amount of taxes to withhold from employees’ paychecks.

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Form W-4

W-4 forms by type

Get your W-4 forms’ versions from 2017 to 2023

Why use this free invoice template?

  • If you’re an employee.
    It’s up to you to determine how much of each of your paychecks is withheld for taxes. Withhold too little, and you’ll be confronted with a bill from the IRS at the end of the year. Too much, and you’ll lower your monthly pay, but receive a refund at the end of the year for any overpaid amount. The W4 form was designed to help you calculate exactly how much tax should be withheld from your pay, so that you can maximize your regular pay while avoiding owing the IRS during tax season.
  • If you’re an employer.
    The IRS requires that you keep a W4 on file for every employee. When you hire a new employee, you’ll need to get a signed W4 from them as soon as possible, and make sure that they file a new one if their withholding amount ever changes. Don’t throw out W4 forms when employees leave, either- you’re required to keep a copy on file for four years after taxes are last withheld for an employee. Failure to do so can lead to fines for the IRS, so be sure to keep an updated W4 in every employee file!

Tips and instructions for use

The W4 is filled out by employees, not the employer. The W4 form is two pages long, and has three main sections.

  • Personal allowance worksheet
    This section of the W4 guides you through calculating your federal tax allowances. Fill out each line according to the instructions.
  • Employee’s withholding allowance certificate
    This section of the W4 is the part an employer should keep on file. It’s a simple form that asks for your name, address, social security number, number of allowances (calculated using the personal allowance worksheet), and any additional taxes you’d like withheld from you pay. Employees can also indicate that they are totally exempt from income tax withholding.
  • Deductions and adjustments worksheet
    This optional section is only used by employees who wish to claim itemized deductions or adjustments to their income. Enter amounts on each line, and use the final amount from line 9 to complete the Personal Allowances Worksheet on the first page.

Helpful information

Employees are not required to use the allowances calculated using the W4 form. If they wish, they can claim more or less allowances. Of course, the IRS will calculate the taxes you owe when you file your tax return, and send a bill or refund accordingly.


What is a W4 form?

The W4 is an IRS tax form that helps employers know the correct amount of taxes to withhold from employees’ paychecks.

The W4 form is filled out by the employee and sent to the employer, who keeps it in the employee’s personnel file.

What is the difference between a W-2 and a w4?

The W-4 form is filled by an employee and is used to determine how much money to withhold from their paycheck for tax purposes. The W-2 form is filled by employer and states how much money they paid a specific person and how much money they withheld for taxes. The IRS requires both.

Who should fill out a W-4 Form?

If you start working for a company, whether it is your first job or you are switching positions, you need to fill out a W-4 form. You should also fill it if your tax situation changes, for example, if you get married, start working two jobs simultaneously, etc.

What is a W-4 Form used for?

A W-4 form is called Employee’s Withholding Certificate and is used by the Internal Revenue Service to calculate the amount of tax to be deducted from the specific person’s paycheck. If you work for hire, you will fill this form when starting a new job.

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