Q:

How do you fill out a W-4?

A:

Quick Answer

Fill out the W-4 form by entering personal information on lines one through four, the number of allowances claimed on line 5 and any additional amount you want withheld on line 6. Finish by signing the form. Write "exempt" on line 7 if you received a refund and had no tax liability last year and a refund is expected this year. It takes 10 to 50 minutes to fill out the form. You need a pen, a W-4 form, the Publication 505 Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax booklet, and the previous year's tax return.

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Full Answer

  1. Download the W-4 form

    Go to the Internal Revenue Service website, and download the W-4 PDF form. Save the form on your computer's hard drive, and open the saved form. Locate the Publication 505 Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax booklet also found on the IRS website. Open the publication.

  2. Read the W-4 form

    Read the entire W-4 form. There are instructions, a Personal Allowances Worksheet and the W-4 form on the first page. The second page contains the Deductions and Adjustments Worksheet, the Two Jobs/Multiple Earners Worksheet and two tables stating what to enter on lines 2 and 7 on the Two Jobs/Multiple Earners Worksheet.

  3. Fill out the Personal Allowance Worksheet

    The Personal Allowance Worksheet determines the number of allowances you should claim. Answer questions A through H on the Personal Allowance Worksheet for the current tax year.

  4. Fill out the Deductions and Adjustments Worksheet

    If you are planning to itemize deductions, have income in addition to wages or are claiming adjustments to income, fill out lines 1 through 10 on the Deductions and Adjustments Worksheet. Otherwise, skip this step. Some calculations may require filling out the worksheets found in Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. Refer to the publication you opened earlier to determine if you need to file this form.

  5. Fill out the Two Jobs/Multiple Earners Worksheet

    If you have one job or are married and not filing jointly, you may skip this step. Using the tables at the bottom of page 2, fill out lines 1 through 9 of the Two Jobs/Multiple Earners Worksheet.

  6. Fill out the W-4 form

    Enter your personal information on lines 1 through 4 of the W-4 form. Enter the number of allowances you are claiming on line 5. This number is from line H of the Personal Allowances Worksheet or line 10 from the Deductions and Adjustments Worksheet or line 3 from the Two Jobs/Multiple Earners Worksheet. Enter the additional amount you want withheld from each pay check on line 6. This number is from line 9 on the Two Jobs/Multiple Earners Worksheet. Sign your name to complete the form.

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