What is a W-4?

Paycheck tax withholding is determined by a W-4.

Updated over a week ago

This article was updated for Tax Year 2023, last edited on November 14th, 2023.

A Form W-4 is an Employee’s Withholding Certificate. This form is completed and provided to your employer so that they can withhold the correct federal income tax from your pay. When you file your taxes there may be a balance due if you’ve withheld too little. If you’ve withheld too much, you may be owed a refund when you file your tax return.

The IRS recommends that you complete a new W-4 when there have been life changes in your personal or financial situation.

How does my withholding get updated?

Your withholding is adjusted depending on how you complete your W-4. This can be done either by manually filling out a form for your employer or payroll provider, or by utilizing a system they offer.

If you want to decrease your withholding, this change is usually entered on line 4(b) of your W-4. However, when updating through a system, you may see this change instead reflected on line 3 (even if you do not have a dependent or any specific credits).

If you want to increase your withholding, that information would be entered on line 4(c) of the Form W-4.

This content is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as tax, legal, financial, or other professional advice. Rules and regulations vary by location and are subject to change, so please consult with an expert if you need specific advice.

Did this answer your question?