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When Do I Have To Submit A New W-4 Form?

by rlcoch01 last modified Oct 31, 2007 05:36 PM

If either of the two situations below applies to you, you have to fill out a new W-4 form.

  • Your living arrangement or financial situation changes, leaving you with fewer withholding allowances.  For instance, if you get a divorce, or a previously nonworking spouse takes a job, or a dependent moves out of the house, you're required to submit a new W-4 form within 10 days.
  • You realize that you're no longer exempt, because you're going to have to pay income tax in the current year.  You have 10 days to fill out a new W-4 form and turn it in to your employer.

You can file a new W-4 form if one of the following two examples applies to you, but you don't have to.  (You really should go to the trouble, though.  You'll have more take-home pay if you do.)

  • Your living arrangement or financial situation changes, leaving you with more withholding allowances.  For example, if you or your spouse gives birth to a child, or if a working spouse quits his or her job, you can submit a new W-4 form claiming an extra allowance.  You can turn in this new form at any time.
  • You realize that you're now exempt from federal income tax withholding.  You can turn in a new W-4 reflecting this change at any time.

If your name changes, you should submit a new W-4 form to your employer, but only after you have received your new social security card.

You're not allowed to make any changes to your W-4 in advance.  Suppose, for instance, that you're going to be married soon.  You have to wait until after the wedding to submit a new form with your updated marital status.

Your employer also has responsibilities with regard to the W-4.  By December 1 of each year, your employer has to remind you to turn in a new form for the next year if your marital status or number of allowances has changed.  Your employer is also required to start using any new W-4 you turn in within a month of getting it from you.

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