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 December 20th, 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, accounting, or other advice. Rules and regulations vary by location and are subject to change, so please consult with an expert if you need advice specific to you.

Any third-party links are provided for informational purposes only. The third parties and their sites are not endorsed by April and April is not responsible for, and has no control over, their content, privacy policies, or terms of service.

Did this answer your question?