Taxes How To Fill Out a W-4 Form for a New Job By Alison Doyle Alison Doyle Facebook Twitter Website Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts and has counseled both students and corporations on hiring practices. She has given hundreds of interviews on the topic for outlets including The New York Times, BBC News, and LinkedIn. Alison founded CareerToolBelt.com and has been an expert in the field for more than 20 years. learn about our editorial policies Updated on November 3, 2022 In This Article View All In This Article What Is a W-4 Form? Before You Start the Form How To Complete a W-4 Form Updating Your W-4 Form Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Photo: mediaphotos / Getty Images If you have landed your first job or are starting a new job, you will need to fill out a W-4 (Employee's Withholding Certificate) form so that your employer can determine how much tax to withhold from your paycheck. It's important to complete the form accurately because if too little is withheld, you may owe tax to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when you file your tax return and then owe a penalty. If too much is withheld, you will generally be due a refund. When you change jobs, or your personal or financial situation changes, complete a new W-4 form. Key Takeaways If you started a new job, you will need to fill out a W-4 (Employee's Withholding Certificate) form so your employer can withhold federal taxes from your paycheck. Be sure to complete the form accurately because if too little is withheld, you may owe tax to the IRS, but if too much is withheld, you may get a refund.Information needed on the W-4 form includes your name, address, whether you're single or married, and if you file an individual or joint tax return.Other information needed includes whether you have multiple jobs or your spouse works, as well as if you claim any child or dependent tax credits. What Is a W-4 Form? The W-4 form is completed by an employee so that the employer can withhold the correct amount of federal income tax from your pay. When you are hired for a new job, you will be required to complete a W-4 form to let your employer know how much tax to withhold. Prior to starting employment, you can fill out a PDF version of the W-4 form online and print it out. Your employer will advise you of the best way to submit it. The W-4 form indicates to employers how much they need to deduct from your wages for federal income tax. Note In addition to when you start a job, it's also a good idea to review withholding amounts on a regular basis to ensure the appropriate amount of tax is withheld from your pay. Review the Instructions Before you begin filling out the W-4 form, plan to sit down with your spouse to determine whether or not you will be filing a joint tax return together for the current year. Also review the information you'll need to complete the form. Note You can download the W-4 form and instructions directly from the IRS website. If you have a question, check this list of frequently asked questions about the form and information on how to complete it. How To Complete a W-4 Form Step 1: Complete your personal information. List your name, address, social security number, and tax-filing status. Tax filing options include the following: Single or Married filing separatelyMarried filing jointly or Qualifying widow(er)Head of household (if you’re unmarried and pay more than half the costs of keeping up a home for yourself and a qualifying individual) Note Steps 2–4 only apply if you have multiple jobs, your spouse works, you have dependents, or you have other income, deductions, or extra withholding. If these don’t apply to you, you go can go directly to Step 5. Step 2: Complete if you have multiple jobs or your spouse works. Complete this step if you hold more than one job at a time or are married filing jointly, and your spouse also works. Step 3: Claim your child and other dependent tax credit. If your total income is under $200,000 ($400,000 if filing jointly) or less, list your number of children under age 17 and multiply by $2,000. If you have other dependents, multiply the number of them by $500. Enter the total amount. Step 4: Other adjustments. If you want tax withheld for other income you expect this year that won’t have withholding, list the amount of other income here, which may include the following: Other income not from jobs, such as interest, dividends, or retirement income.Additional deductions (use the deductions worksheet on page three of the form to calculate the amount you want to be withheld).Extra withholding (any extra withholding you want to be deducted from each paycheck). Step 5: Sign and date the form. Note Use the worksheets provided by the IRS to help calculate your deductions and your tax withholding when you have multiple jobs. You can also use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator, which is available at www.irs.gov/W4app. Updating Your W-4 Form Even if you haven't just landed a new job, you can file a new W-4 form with your employer if your personal or financial situation changes or if you have found that you have too high a tax bill or too large a refund when you file. The U.S. tax system is pay-as-you-go. Taxpayers are required by law to pay most of their tax obligation during the year rather than at the end of the year. This can be done by either changing your deductions and having more tax withheld from paychecks or pension payments, or by making estimated tax payments. Usually, a penalty applies at tax filing if too little is paid during the year. Typically, the penalty would not apply if tax payments during the year meet one of the following tests: The person’s tax payments were at least 90% of the tax liability for the current yearThe person’s tax payments were at least 100% of the prior year’s tax liability. If you forget to submit your W-4 in time for the end of the year, the IRS will treat your income like that of a single person without any withholding allowances. Depending on your situation, this could be problematic, so be sure to submit the form as soon as possible while it is still fresh in your mind. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What is a W-4 form? You will need to fill out a W-4 form—Employee's Withholding Certificate—if you started a new job. A W-4 tells your employer how much federal taxes to withhold from your paycheck. When filling out your W-4 form, remember that if you withhold too little, you may owe tax when you file your taxes. However, if you withhold too much, you may get a refund. How do I fill out my W-4 correctly? The steps to fill out your W-4 form are as follows:Step 1: Complete your personal information, including name, address, whether you're single or married, and if you file an individual or joint tax return.Step 2: Complete if you have multiple jobs or your spouse works.Step 3: Claim your child and other dependent tax credit. Step 4: Other adjustments include taxes you want withheld for other income that doesn't have withholding, such as interest, dividends, and retirement income.Step 5: Sign and date the form. The information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. IRS. "2022 W-4 Form," Page 2. IRS. "About Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Certificate." IRS. "Topic No. 306 Penalty for Underpayment of Estimated Tax." IRS. "Topic No. 753 Form W-4 – Employee's Withholding Certificate."