First, to explain the basic idea behind the form: the W-4 is used by your employer to figure out how much tax to withhold on your paycheck. The goal is to get as close as possible to the right number so you don't owe money come tax time.

The IRS has a tax withholding estimator on their website that can help you get a pretty accurate result so that you don't have too much or too little income tax withheld: 

We recommend taking a look at that link as a first step. We can always review and help adjust your results if needed.

If the calculator feels overwhelming, there's a quick and easy band-aid method that can also work. If you decide to go this route, we can discuss your results during your tax appointment or review them in a consultation after the tax season is over in case we need to make adjustments.

Either way, here's a quick method for filling out your W-4:

  1. Fill out the info in Step 1 of the form. In most cases we recommend saying you're "Single or Married Filing Separately" here even if you're married.
  2. If you only have one job that asks for a W-4, skip Step 2. If you have multiple jobs, or also freelance, consider checking the box in 2 (c) to indicate that you have more than one job.
  3. If you have kids or dependents, follow the instructions for Step 3 (make sure to only do this on one W-4 if you have multiple jobs that ask for this form). Otherwise, skip Step 3.
  4. Skip Step 4.
  5. Sign your name and enter the date in Step 5.

Another article that goes further into each of the steps can be found here.

If you have a bunch of jobs that require W-4 forms or are feeling overwhelmed and would like more immediate assistance, we can set up a consultation to help you. Just email to schedule an appointment.