The Who, What, Why, Where, and How of the New W-4 (Employee’s Withholding Certificate)


What has changed?

  • Form W-4 is now titled as Employee’s Withholding Certificate for years 2020 onward.
  • This new W-4 form has been simplified and is more straight forward for both employers and employees.

Why did the W-4 form change?

  • In 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act took effect. The revised W-4 form reflects tax code changes from this act.

Who do the changes affect?

  • Employees hired as of January 1, 2020, at a new place of employment or with a new employer, will need to complete the new W-4 form.
  • Employees with a 2019 (or earlier version) of the W-4 on file with a current employer, are not required to complete the new W-4 form.
    • Note: if you fall into this category and you would like to adjust your withholding, you will need to complete the new W-4 form

How has it changed?

  • W-4 versions prior to 2020 were tied to personal exemptions and withholding allowances which is no longer the case.
  • The new W-4 form is now one page long with only five steps, of which you only need to complete two.

Required Steps

  • Step 1:
    • Personal information (Name, Social Security Number, Address)
    • Filing status (Single or Married Separate, Married Jointly, or Head of Household)
  • Step 5: Signature

Optional Steps

  • Step 2:

Complete if you 1) Hold more than one job OR 2) are married, filing jointly and your spouse works

  • Step 3:

Complete if you’d like to claim dependents and take deductions other than the standard deduction

  • Step 4:

Complete should you want extra taxes withheld for any reason

Where to find more information?

If you need more information on the new W-4 form, here are some helpful links:

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach