New Form W-4 (2016)

By | January 14, 2016

Purpose. Complete Form W-4 so that your employer can withhold the correct federal income tax from your pay. Consider completing a new Form W-4 each year and when your personal or financial situation changes. Exemption from withholding. If you are exempt, complete only lines 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 and sign the form to validate it. Your exemption for 2016 expires February 15, 2017. See Pub. 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.

Exceptions. An employee may be able to claim exemption from withholding even if the employee is a dependent, if the employee: • Is age 65 or older, • Is blind, or • Will claim adjustments to income; tax credits; or itemized deductions, on his or her tax return.


Complete the Personal Allowances Worksheet on Form W-4

Basic instructions. If you are not exempt, complete the Personal Allowances Worksheet below. The worksheets on page 2 further adjust your withholding allowances based on itemized deductions, certain credits, adjustments to income, or two-earners/multiple jobs situations. Complete all worksheets that apply. However, you may claim fewer (or zero) allowances. For regular wages, withholding must be based on allowances you claimed and may not

What is head of household filing status?

Head of household. Generally, you can claim head of household filing status on your tax return only if you are unmarried and pay more than 50% of the costs of keeping up a home for yourself and your dependent(s) or other qualifying individuals. See Pub. 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, for information.


Head of Household Tax Credits

Tax credits. You can take projected tax credits into account in figuring your allowable number of withholding allowances. Credits for child or dependent care expenses and the child tax credit may be claimed using the Personal Allowances Worksheet below. See Pub. 505 for information on converting your other credits into withholding allowances. Nonwage income. If you have a large amount of nonwage income, such as interest or dividends, consider making estimated tax payments using Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals. Otherwise, you may owe additional tax. If you have pension or annuity income, see Pub. 505 to find out if you should adjust your withholding on Form W-4 or W-4P


Form W-4 and Multiple Jobs

Two earners or multiple jobs. If you have a working spouse or more than one job, figure the total number of allowances you are entitled to claim on all jobs using worksheets from only one Form W-4. Your withholding usually will be most accurate when all allowances are claimed on the Form W-4 for the highest paying job and zero allowances are claimed on the others. See Pub. 505 for details. Nonresident alien.You may need to complete the Two-Earners/Multiple Jobs Worksheet on Form W-4 if you have more than one job, a working spouse, or are also receiving a pension. Also, on this worksheet you can add any additional withholding necessary to cover any amount you expect to owe other than income tax, such as self-employment tax.


Taxes Withheld from Paychecks

In most situations, the tax withheld from your pay will be close to the tax you figure on your return if you follow these two rules.

  • You accurately complete all the Form W-4 worksheets that apply to you.
  • You give your employer a new Form W-4 when changes occur.

What effects withholding amounts?

But because the worksheets and withholding methods don’t account for all possible situations, you may not be getting the right amount withheld. This is most likely to happen in the following situations.
  • You are married and both you and your spouse work.
  • You have more than one job at a time.
  • You have nonwage income, such as interest, dividends, alimony, unemployment compensation, or self-employment income.
  • You will owe additional amounts with your return, such as self-employment tax.
  • Your withholding is based on obsolete Form W-4 information for a substantial part of the year.
  • Your earnings are more than the amount shown under Check your withholding in the instructions at the top of page 1 of Form W-4.
  • You work only part of the year.
  • You change the number of your withholding allowances during the year.


Supplemental Form W-4 Instructions for Nonresident Aliens

If you are a nonresident alien, see Notice 1392, Supplemental Form W-4 Instructions for Nonresident Aliens, before completing this form. Check your withholding. After your Form W-4 takes effect, use Pub. 505 to see how the amount you are having withheld compares to your projected total tax for 2016. See Pub. 505, especially if your earnings exceed $130,000 (Single) or $180,000 (Married). Future developments. Information about any future developments affecting Form W-4 (such as legislation enacted after we release it) will be posted at


Nonresident aliens and Form W-4

Nonresident aliens must follow special instructions when completing Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, for compensation paid to such individuals as employees performing dependent personal services in the United States. Compensation for dependent personal services includes amounts paid as wages, salaries, fees, bonuses, commissions, compensatory scholarships, fellowship income, and similar designations for amounts paid to an employee.

If you are an alien individual (that is, an individual who is not a U.S. citizen), specific rules apply to determine if you are a resident alien or a nonresident alien for federal income tax purposes. Generally, you are a resident alien if you meet either the “green card test,” or the “substantial presence test,” for the calendar year. Any alien individual not meeting either test is generally a nonresident alien. Additionally, a dual-resident alien who applies the so-called “tie-breaker” rules contained within the Resident (or Residence or Fiscal Residence) article of an applicable U.S. income tax treaty in favor of the other Contracting State is treated as a nonresident alien. See Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, for more information on the green card test and the substantial presence test.