The IRS recently decided to give Form W-4 a major facelift. A draft of the newly proposed form was released on May 31st to open the floor up for review and feedback. Although the form is not for immediate use at this time (continue using the current Form W-4 for 2019), it does contain major revisions intended to increase the ease and accuracy of income tax withholding for employees.
Changes to the new form coincide with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that went into effect, suspending the use of personal exemptions. It is important to note that employees who filed a Form W-4 for in any year prior to 2020 will not be required to complete the new form.
5 Steps of 2020 Form W-4
Step 1. Demographic information - The biggest difference here is that employees can now claim “Head of household” as a filing status.
Step 2. Multiple jobs - Employees can choose to complete the included worksheet or use the online IRS calculator to determine the amount to enter on line 4c. There is also a third option to check the box at the end of this section if applicable. Checking this box will result in a larger amount to be withheld from the employee's paycheck but very little chance of too little being withheld.
Step 3. Dependents and tax credits - Claim your dependents by multiplying the number of qualifying children under the age of 17 by $2,000 and the number of any other dependents by $500. This section only applies if your income will be $200,000 or less or $400,000 or less if married filing jointly.
Step 4. Other adjustments - Enter information on other income (not including income from a job), deductions, and exemption. If planning to claim deductions outside of the standard deduction, employees will need to complete Worksheet 2.
Step 5. Sign and date
As stated above, employees will not be required to file a new W-4 once the form goes into effect. However, after December 31, 2019, W-4’s prior to 2020 will not be accepted and employers must enforce this. We expect to see another draft issued by the IRS this summer before the final form is released this fall.