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How to Determine Your W-4 Allowances

How to Determine Your W-4 Allowances

W-4 allowances is a common topic of confusion. PriorTax is here to help.

If you are filling out a W-4 Form and have no idea how many allowances to claim, you’re not alone. In fact, most people don’t know how to fill out a W-4.

Even though the form can seem confusing, it’s important to be aware of the number of allowances you’re claiming. You may end up with a large tax due bill if you claim any random number.

The W-4 form determines how much tax is withheld from your paycheck each pay period. That means, if there too much tax withheld throughout the year, you’ll end up receiving a tax refund when filing your taxes. The opposite is also true. If too little tax is withheld from your paycheck, you’ll end up having to pay taxes later on.

What determines the number of allowances to claim?

The number of allowances you claim on your W-4 is dependent on your life circumstances. It depends on the number of jobs you have, if you’re married or single and how many children and personal exemptions you have along with your stance in the federal tax table.

The following explanations will help you determine how many allowances to claim. Another great tool is the IRS Withholding Calculator. The W-4 allowance calculator determines your withholding based on your specific life details.

I’m single and have no kids, how many allowances should I claim?

  • Claiming Zero: If you claim zero, the maximum amount in tax is withheld from your paycheck. This means you’ll most likely receive a refund when filing your taxes.

  • Claiming One. If you are single, have no kids and have one job, you should probably claim one. This means, you’ll probably receive a refund when filing your taxes and you also won’t have the maximum amount taken out from your paychecks.

  • Claiming Two: If you are single and work more than one job, you can claim two at one job and zero at the other, or claim one at each job.

I’m married with no kids,  how many allowances should I claim?

  • Claiming Zero: If you have a combined income that falls within the 28% or higher tax brackets, claim zero and you will owe less money during tax time.

  • Claiming One: If your combined income falls below the 28% tax bracket and you both work, you should each claim one. You’ll break even or get a small refund back when filing.

  • Claiming Two. If only one of you work and your  income falls below the 28% tax bracket, you should claim two.

I’m married with one child, how many allowances should I claim?

  • Claiming One: If both spouses work, it’s best for each of you to claim one. This way you will probably will break even come tax season.

  • Claiming Two: If only one spouse works, the working spouse can claim two and will probably come close to breaking even when filing taxes.

For each additional child or dependent, just add one to the number of allowances based on the the example above.

Someone is claiming me as their dependent, how many do I claim?

  • Claim Zero: If you are being claimed as someone’s dependent, you should claim 0.

Life changes everyday. You will need to change your W-4 allowances if you have recently had one of the following occur in your life; marriage, divorce, a new child, a second job, the purchase of a new home, etc.

The bottom line is, the more allowances you claim, the smaller amount of taxes your employer will withhold. If too little is withheld, known as under-withholding, you could end up with a large tax bill when filing.

If you forgot to file taxes from a previous year and curious if you had too much or too little tax withheld based on your W-4 from that prior year, you can file online now. Filing taxes on PriorTax is a straightforward and quick process.

Photo via Flazingo.com/creativecommons

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199 Responses to “How to Determine Your W-4 Allowances”

  1. Julie Rose says:

    I am unemployed. I am married and my husband works full-time. We are expecting our first child in a little less than 3 months. how many allowances should my husband claim both federal and state?

    Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Hi Julie,

      I would suggest your husband claiming 3 allowances on his W-4. Keep in mind, the fewer allowances he claims (1 or 2), the more likely he is to receive a larger tax refund although more tax will be withheld from his paychecks.

      • Ray says:

        Hi,
        I am married with no kids on 1099 while wife is on W2. How many allowances should we take as 1099 usually results in AGI below $109k?

        • admin says:

          Hi Ray,

          Since you will not be claiming allowances for a 1099, I suggest that your wife claim two allowances on her W4.

          I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  2. Bridgette says:

    Hi I have never filled out a W-4 form I’m a single parent with 5 children and I have a part time job how many allowances do I claim

  3. Taylor says:

    I have been working full time, my wife has not. I claim 2. She recently picked up a self employed nanny job. Can I claim a withholding allowance for her still?

  4. heather says:

    I am a single mother of one. I claimed 2 on my w4 and no federal is being taken out of my checks. I have a full time job. How will these affect my tax return.

    • admin says:

      Hi Heather,

      The amount of federal income tax withheld from each paycheck is based on your gross income and the number of dependents that you claim on your W-4. I would suggest using the IRS Withholding Calculator tool to double check that your employer is correct in not withholding any federal income tax from your checks.

  5. danielle says:

    Please help me with one question, can I still file my 2011 tax return and get the money direct deposited? I have to re print it before mailing because the account I originally used is now closed…. is it to late to get my money for 2011?

    • admin says:

      Hello Danielle,

      You can still file your 2011 tax return and receive your refund. However, the refund can no longer be direct deposited. You’ll receive a paper check in the mail.

  6. Sandy says:

    I am retired and a widow with no dependents. should i be claiming 0 or 1

  7. Avinash says:

    I have one full time job and my wife doesn’t work, How many allowances can I claim?

    • admin says:

      Hello Avinash,

      I would suggest claiming 2 allowances on your W-4. Keep in mind, the fewer allowances you claim, the more likely you are to receive a larger tax refund although more tax will be withheld from your paychecks.

  8. Cherice says:

    Hi, I just started a job and am not sure how many to claim on my girlfriendw4. It’s me, my girlfriend and our 9mo old son. I would like a bigger paycheck but don’t want to owe taxes at end of the year.

    • admin says:

      Hello Cherice,

      According to the IRS, the following guidelines must be met in order for you to be able to claim your girlfriend on your tax return since she is not a relative:

      1. they must have lived with you for entire calendar year
      2. they must make less than $3,900 as their gross income for the year
      3. you must have paid for more than 50% of your partner’s living expenses during the calendar year
      4. cannot be a qualifying child

      If she meets this criteria then you will be able to claim her as a dependent. You can claim your son as a dependent. Keep in mind that the more allowances you claim, the more money in each paycheck. However, you will also have a smaller tax refund. For more information, you can always refer back to the IRS website and answer several questions about who you can claim as a dependent.

  9. Dana says:

    I just started a new job and trying to complete the Form W-4 but I’m confused. I am a single mother of one with one full time job. Also, I’m head of the household. how many allowances should I be claiming on both federal and state?

  10. Stephanie says:

    I am married with 3 children. My husband has 2 jobs, therefore makes more money. I am starting a new job and I am filling out the W4. I do not know the number of allowances I should claim. I do not know what he claimed on his W4. What is a good number to claim?

    • admin says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      The amount of allowances that you should claim depends on a few different factors in your situation such as if you are eligible for the child tax credit, if you are filing as head of household, etc. I suggest using the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes and will ask you several specific questions that will give you the most beneficial amount to withhold under your circumstances.

  11. Christie says:

    I’m single, no dependents or children and one job with $35,000 salary a year. $543 of taxes gets taken out of my paycheck per month. What should I claim so that I get more money in my paycheck? I would rather put that money per month somewhere else rather than getting a big tax return in April 2015. Should I claim 2?

    • admin says:

      Hi Christie,

      If you increase the amount of allowances that you claim, you will have less money withheld from each paycheck but a smaller refund (or a higher chance of owing at the end of the tax year). Keep in mind that if you are claiming zero allowances, you are having the maximum amount being withheld from your paychecks. I am going to assume that you are claiming either zero or one so by increasing your allowance amount to two, your paycheck amount should increase.

  12. Paul says:

    Hi, My wife just got a part time job, I work full time and claimed our children on my W-4 can my wife claim them on her tax return or just claim herself?

    • admin says:

      Hi Paul,

      As long as you are claiming your children, your wife cannot (assuming you two are filing separately). However, you can split the amount of allowances that you have been claiming solely on yours.

  13. John says:

    I’m single, no dependents or children, one job with a $35,000 salary per year, and my mother still claims me as a dependent. I currently claim zero allowances for both Federal and State. Can I claim more for Federal, State, or both?

  14. martha says:

    Hi I got married last year in November and we filled taxes together, and I recently changed my paychecks to 3 allowances since I claim my mom, we are now expecting a baby next month, my husband has no allowances I was wondering if we both can have allowanceson our paychecks, I am actually going on maternity leave would that affect anything? Or whats best for us that we dont have to pay taxes at the end of year but still have enough for bills and rent ?

    • admin says:

      Hi Martha,

      You and your husband can both claim allowances. Keep in mind that the more allowances you claim, the more money you will see each paycheck. However, this also decreases your refund amount (or increases your chance of owing money) at the end of the tax year. With that in mind, I suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator as another great reference point. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most appropriate amount of allowances to claim based on the specific answers you provide.

  15. Beth says:

    My husband started a new full time job and we’re having trouble filling out W4. I will now stay home with our 2 children. Confused on how to know how to fill out so not too much or too little is taken out of his paychecks??? We’re used to getting a decent tax return.

    • admin says:

      Hi Beth,

      I suggest using the IRS Withholding Calculator as a point of reference for your situation. It only takes several minutes to complete and will give you and your husband the most appropriate amount of allowances to claim based on the answers you provide. Also, keep in mind that the more allowances your husband claims, the more money he will see each paycheck but the less money he will receive as a refund (also increasing his chances of owing money).

  16. Cheryl says:

    I feel my husband is having too much in taxes taken out of his paycheck. We both work full time. He is claiming single and 1; I claim married and 0 and have an additional $42 in federal taxes taken out. For the last 2 years we have not claimed my daughter as her father has claimed her on his tax return due to him paying money towards her college education. This year we will be receiving student loans so I will be claiming her. My goal is NOT to get back a large refund. Breaking even would be good for me, but my husband is always looking for a refund. I was previously self employed; however I am no longer and we always had to pay. I’m thinking my husband should change his withholding to married and either 0 or 1. I’m so confused as to which would benefit. Could you please give your advice.

    • admin says:

      Hi Cheryl,

      I suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. This only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim based on the specific answers you provide so that you reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  17. AVA says:

    I am 18 years old, and have a temporary full time, minimum wage job. I just got a new part time job on top of the full time. On the first W4 I claimed zero because I want max taxes taken out. My mom will claim me as dependent. I am going to be filling out the W4 for my second job soon. Should I claim 0 if I am dependent or 2 since it is my second job?

    • admin says:

      Hi Ava,

      You can still claim zero allowances. I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim based on the specific answers you provide.

  18. Jason says:

    Hi, I am a married man and my wife does not work. I am making a little less than 40,000/year. I get paid twice a month. We just had our first baby in April and obviously qualify for the Child Tax Credit for 2014 taxes. I also contribute to a 401k plan. Currently I am claiming 2 personal allowances. After I went to IRS Withholding calculator and input my current information it said my anticipated income tax for 2014 is $0. It also suggests I change my personal allowances to 6. Does this make sense? Thank you.

    W-4 form
    A-1
    B-1
    C-1
    D-1
    G-2
    H (add lines A through G) = 6

    • admin says:

      Hi Jason,

      The IRS Withholding Calculator gives the best estimated amount of allowances to withhold so that you reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a large number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      • Scott says:

        I’ll be starting a new job in September (post Military) and so am filling out my W4. I’m in the same boat (nonworking spouse, plus daughter), and after reading the IRS info, listed six exemptions. However, my auditor friend advised me to claim married three. Isn’t married already factored in on Option B? So that doesn’t make 100% sense to me. Also, I understand what you are saying admin, but I am still confused. So are we going by the rules/what the IRS advises, or are we just picking a magic number out of the air? I guess I need a bit more clarity.

        • admin says:

          Hi Scott,

          I suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator and going with that amount as that will get you closest to a break-even point at the end of the tax year based on the information you provide.

          As far as the rules for completing your W-4, as long as you can prove the allowances you are claiming, you may do so. You wouldn’t be picking a “magic number” out of nowhere however, you do not need to claim all possible allowances if you prefer to have more taxes withheld from each paycheck.

  19. Denise says:

    Hi i jist got a job and have no idea how to fill out that w-4 paper they give you when u get hired. I am married with a house and with one child. My husband makes the real money i just have a part time job for a little extra cash. What do i put for the allowances? He said 2 for me and my child but im thinking 1 to be safe so we dont owe anything at the end. Ill only be making about 7500.00 a year

    • admin says:

      Hi Denise,

      I suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you an accurate amount of allowances to claim to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a large number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

  20. Leasha says:

    Hi I’m 17, single, and a dependent. I recently got two jobs, both are extremely part time, and i’m not too sure on how to fill out my w4 form. i know in line 5 and 6 i have to write zero, but im not sure if i should write “Exempt” on line 7. also, since im single and have two jobs, do i fill out the second half on the second sheet? or does that not apply because im a dependent…

    • admin says:

      Hi Leasha,

      I suggest taking a look at the IRS Tax Trail Tool for exemptions. This tool will help you to determine if you qualify as exempt.

      Once you find out if you qualify as exempt of not, you can use the IRS Withholding Calculator to determine the most accurate amount of allowances to claim based on your current circumstances. This tool will help you reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  21. Wales says:

    Hi,

    I am a full time college student. I will be working a 35 hour, full time internship for the next 6 months, so I won’t be in school during that period. I live with both my parents, but I filed my own taxes. Do I claim 0 or 1 for my allowances? I also have a good scholarship from my college. Will that be a factor?

    Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi Wales,

      If you claim zero allowances, you’ll see a bit less in each paycheck than you would see if you claim one allowance (but possibly a higher refund at the end of the tax year) so it depends on your preference.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out (meaning smaller paychecks). If you claim a larger number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  22. Josh says:

    Hello, my girlfriend is somehow claiming a 3 with no dependents. Her gross pay is $41k a year, but she is getting almost $500 taken out of her paychecks. She does not have any children with only one job, what should she claim to get a bigger paycheck?

    • admin says:

      Hi Josh,

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a large number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  23. Josh says:

    That’s what I understand, however, correct me if I’m wrong, but you can’t claim whatever you want you have to follow rules i.e. you can only claim 0 if someone is claiming you, you can only claim 2 if you are either married or have 2 jobs and you can only claim 3 if you are married with a child.

  24. Marquita says:

    Hey, I have a full-time job and no kids but I claim my brother who is disable. How may allowances should I put on my form?

    • admin says:

      Hi Marquita,

      I suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. This only takes a few minutes to complete and will be able to give you the most appropriate amount of allowances to claim to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year based on the specific information you provide.

  25. leeann says:

    I’m single with one child how many should I claim?

  26. Andrea says:

    Hello!

    I am separated (for over a year) and my (ex) husband and I file separate tax returns (married-filing separate).

    We have two children together and we each claim one on our tax returns.

    I am employed with a full time job and pay child care expenses all by myself.

    My question is 1) Do I file Married or Single for tax withholding, and 2) What should I put for my total allowances. The calculator says I should claim 6, but that seems way too high.

    Thank you.

    • Andrea says:

      I should probably add that I do pay him child support monthly because he does not work. I don’t know if this makes any difference.

    • admin says:

      Hi Andrea,

      According to the IRS, your marital status on the last day of the year determines your marital status for the entire year. Single filing status generally applies to anyone who is unmarried, divorced or legally separated according to state law.

      As far as your withholdings are concerned, I suggest researching if you are eligible for the child tax credit since it is safe to assume you will be claiming your two little ones. The reason the calculator is at six withholdings is because it is probably taking into account that you are eligible for this credit.

  27. Josh says:

    I am married (both of us work), with 2 small children. Previously, I was claiming no exemptions on my w-4, and received a very large tax return at the end of the year. I would like to have less withheld each paycheck, yet still get a tax return at the end of the year. How many allowances should I claim?

    • admin says:

      Hi Josh,

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a large number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  28. Raquel says:

    Hello, My name is Raquel

    Iam starting a new job so I need to do my W-4 . My husband is military and claims me and both our children, do I just right Zero on line #5? and that is all I fill out for my W-4

    Thank You
    Raquel

    • admin says:

      Hi Raquel,

      If your husband is going to continue claiming you and your children, then I suggest claiming zero allowances.

      Keep in mind, the general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a large number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

  29. Carolina says:

    Hello,

    I got married last week. I work full time. My husband does not. I want the same amount to be withheld as I did before I was married. Should I file my W-4 as Married, withhold at single rate with 0 allowances? My status before said Single with 0 allowances.

    • admin says:

      Hi Carolina,

      Congratulations!

      Yes, you are correct. You can still get the single withholding rate if you are married. The W-4 has a checkbox labeled “Married, but withhold at higher Single rate.” By making this selection you get the single withholding rate even though you are married. This box is located on the bottom half of the first page of the W4 (option #3).

  30. TASH says:

    I WILL BE STARTING A NEW JOB. MY HUSBAND AND I JUST HAD OUR FIRST BABY. WE BOTH FILE SEPARATELY. MY NAME IS HYPHENATED SO I FILE AS SINGLE. HOW MANY ALLOWANCES SHOULD I PUT ON MY W-4 FOR MY NEW JOB?

    • admin says:

      Hi Tash,

      Congratulations on the new addition!

      The amount of allowances you claim would depend on who is claiming your child. Typically, it is more beneficial for the spouse with the higher income to claim more allowances.

      I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  31. Susan says:

    Single, no dependents. Retired October 2013.
    Starting a part time job, 6 -10 hr/wk at $15 an hour
    Have not touched my retirement portfolio yet, just getting SS (1676/mo)
    Should I claim 0 or 1 exemption on my W-4?
    Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Hi Susan,

      Depending on your preference, claiming zero or one allowance will both will have you owing nearly nothing at the end of the tax year; possibly even receiving a refund.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a large number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

  32. Sarah Selden says:

    I am married and both my husband and I work full-time jobs. We have three children, ages 18, 17, and 12. I recently had to fill out a W-4 form at my new place of employment. I am concerned that I selected too many “allowances.” I selected “9” taking into account the “child tax credit” for our two children under the age of 18. Should I go back and change my allowances to “5”….I would rather get a refund for taxes as we normally due, but am concerned I am not having enough taken out of my check. Thanks so much for your advice.

    • admin says:

      Hi Sarah,

      By following the instructions on the W4, you have calculated the maximum amount of allowances that you are able to claim based on your circumstances. You are always able to claim less than that amount.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a large number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  33. K says:

    Hello,
    I just got a new job. I am married with 4 kids. Spouse unemployed. How many should I claim fro federal and state?
    Thanks.

    • admin says:

      Hi K,

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a large number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  34. Christina says:

    Hello,

    I’m single but I’m supporting my family and will be claiming my mom as a dependent. How many allowances should I claim? I don’t want to be owing taxes later though.
    Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi Christina,

      The amount of allowances you claim will depend on how many members of your family are your dependents. I suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  35. Christina says:

    Hi,

    I’m single and I’m planning on adding my mom (unemployed) as my dependent. I’m guessing I would qualify as the head of household as well. How many allowances should I claim and make sure I don’t owe any later on? Thanks!

  36. taylor says:

    Hi,
    I completed the IRS withholding calculator and it said for my husband to claim 12 allowances (?!?!) and me 0, and we would still get a refund. doesn’t make any sense to me. does that sound correct? thanks for any advice!

    married
    2 children by the end of this year
    own house
    husband- bread winner
    me- very part time job

    need anything else? thanks so much.

    • admin says:

      Hi Taylor,

      That amount does seem a bit high which may result in you and your husband owing money at the end of the tax year. With the above information that you provided, I would suggest claiming no more than four allowances.

  37. Patricia says:

    My husband has been retired and I work full time. He receives a social security check. He will be starting a part time job and we are not sure if he should file 0 or 1 on his W4. We carry a mortgage so have interest to claim and get a nice refund. I want to continue getting a big refund. Please advise.

    • admin says:

      Hi Patricia,

      If you would like a larger refund, I suggest claiming zero allowances.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a large number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

  38. Kelly says:

    Hi, I am married, my husbands income tax refund goes towards his child support since he is behind, should we always file separately, I am worried if we do it jointly I will lose out on my refund? Also we both currently work full time and claim 0, should we at least be claiming 1 for allowances? Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Hi Kelly,

      Although it is typically more beneficial to file jointly under normal circumstances, I suggest filing separately with your specific situation. The IRS will most likely not issue a refund to you and your husband since he owes child support.

      When it comes to claiming allowances, the general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a large number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

    • Sarah Lawrence says:

      I am in the same scenario and have been since 2010. You don’t need to file separately, in fact some credits you would lose if you don’t file jointly. What you do is wait for them to take your husbands return and then file an injured spouse claim. This states that is is NOT your debt, etc. me and my husband have two kids and I normally claim them both when I do the injured spouse. I get a refund for my portion, which is figured by the IRS, in like 6-8 weeks.

  39. Lucy says:

    I’m currently claiming myself, my fiance, and our 3 children on my allowances making 5. I’m also in college fulltime. Should I add more allowances for the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit making 7 allowances?

    • admin says:

      Hi Lucy,

      You would not claim an allowance for these credits. You will, however, report both credits when you file your tax return at the end of the financial year.

  40. Linda says:

    I’m a single mom with 2 kids. I work part time & I don’t make a lot of money. My paycheck stub says that I have 8 exemptions. Why is that? It also says that the only taxes I pay are for social security and the state. I’m afraid that I’ll end up owing..

    • admin says:

      Hi Linda,

      I suggest speaking with your pay roll department and requesting to update your W4. You can update the amount of allowances that you are claiming.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a large number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  41. Rebecca says:

    Hello, my boyfriend got a job and we have a daughter he claimed zero and zero. He wants the refund so that’s why he claimed zero but should he claim 0 and 1 or is it okay he claimed 0 and 0? He can still claimed who he wants on his taxes at the end of the year and still yet get a refund.

    • admin says:

      Hi Rebecca,

      I suggest that your boyfriend claim at least one on his W4. By claiming zero, the absolute maximum is being withheld from each paycheck. Claiming one will most likely allow for a refund as well; maybe a bit smaller but still existent (with more money in each paycheck as well).

      Also, I suggest checking into claiming the child tax credit for your daughter. There are income restrictions, however this credit applies to many parents.

  42. Jahleesa says:

    I am turning 24 years old in November and my mom did claim me on her taxes this year. However I will be starting a job this year. As far as personal allowances go do i put 0 or 1 on my w4 form?

  43. Deanne says:

    hi, I am wondering if I used the right filing status for my new job. I filed married 0 dependents, since I am married with adult children. My husband files single no dependents. At tax time we file married. I just started new job in July after being laid off for first half of year. I just don’t want to have to owe at end of year. My other job I filed single. Did I do the right thing?

    • admin says:

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. By following the directions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4, you will calculate the maximum amount that you can claim. However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a larger number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  44. Karla Pizarro says:

    Hi,

    I am a single mother of triplets (head of household) and while calculating the amount of allowances, I came up with 12. Basically, my question is, will I get a lot of money deducted from my paycheck or too little? I don’t want to end up having to pay the IRS. Thank you.

    A -1
    B – 1
    C – 0 (not sure if that’s right, since I am single and have only 1 job)
    D-3
    E- 1
    F- 1
    G – 5
    H – 12 – Total

    • admin says:

      Hi Karla,

      I suggest claiming less than twelve on your W-4 form to avoid owing the IRS.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. By following the directions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4, you will calculate the maximum amount that you can claim. However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a larger number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  45. Diana says:

    married
    we’re both employed
    no kids
    filing married jointly (not sure if this made a difference)

    how many allowances should we claim?

    Thank you!

    • admin says:

      Hi Diana,

      I suggest that you each claim one on your W-4.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. By following the directions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4, you will calculate the maximum amount that you can claim. However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a larger number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  46. Broke_Kid says:

    I’m a single person, I do have 1 child but he lives with his mother. I do pay child support, my yearly reported W2 pay is 63K.. I live alone .. what should my “dependents” be ?

    • admin says:

      Hi,

      From what you have said above, you are not the one claiming your child as a dependent. Since a person can only be claimed once, I suggest that you claim one on your W-4 form.

  47. Carrie says:

    Hello

    I work one full time job and one part time job.. I currently have both at 1 exemption each. I do not want to owe money on my taxes so is this the best option for me or should i change one to 0?

    • admin says:

      Hi Carrie,

      If you are going to update your W-4 form, I suggest claiming one at the higher paying job and zero at the other.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. By following the directions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4, you will calculate the maximum amount that you can claim. However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a larger number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  48. Phil L says:

    I need some help. I claim 1 exemption. I also have a live in girlfriend with two children. From what i understand i am not allowed to claim any of them. I dont know what to do. Its hard to have so much taken out every month and only get back a little bit as if i was supporting only.myself instead of a family.of 4

    • admin says:

      Hi Phil,

      You can claim more on your W-4. However, you cannot claim anyone who does not qualify as a dependent when you file your taxes. By claiming more on your W-4, you will see more each paycheck, however this will increase your risk of owing the IRS at the end of the year. Keep in mind that you can always set up a payment plan with the IRS if you do end up owing.

  49. Shellie says:

    I am a widow, full time employed with one child in high school and one full time student in college. I was widowed in 2008. Do I claim single or married on my W-4?

    • admin says:

      Hi Shellie,

      I am very sorry for your loss.

      To answer your questions, you will claim single for your 2014/2015 W-4 form since it happened in 2008. I suggest looking into the requirements for claiming head of household to see if you qualify. You can generally claim head of household if you are unmarried and pay more tan 50% of the costs of keeping up a home for yourself and your dependent(s) or other qualifying individuals.

  50. John smith says:

    I am married, and my wife does not work. If I claim 2 will I owe money?

    • admin says:

      Hi John,

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. By following the directions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4, you will calculate the maximum amount that you can claim. However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a larger number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  51. John smith says:

    I am married, and my wife does not work. If I claim 2 will I owe money? I am not claimed as a dependent.

    • admin says:

      Hi John,

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. By following the directions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4, you will calculate the maximum amount that you can claim. However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a larger number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  52. Assal Jouzdani says:

    I’m 25, single and own a home. How much do I claim? I claimed 2 on my w4 when starting my new job but a lot is being taking out of my paycheck and I don’t want to have to owe anything at the end of the year on top of the amount that is being taking out of my check bi-weekly.
    Did I fill out my w4 correctly or can I make adjustments so that I could get a refund at the end of the year.

    • Assal Jouzdani says:

      Just kidding I claimed 3 not 2.
      A=1
      B=1
      E=1

      • admin says:

        Hi Assal,

        I would suggest claiming one or two. However, if you feel that too much is being withheld from your paycheck, take a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  53. Miss Wright says:

    I recently had a baby and changed my allowances from single 0 to single 2. When I did the IRS witholding calculator it says I should have 8 allowances is that correct or should I just stick with the 2

    • admin says:

      Hi Miss Wright,

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. By following the directions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4, you will calculate the maximum amount that you can claim. However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a larger number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

  54. Patrick says:

    Hello, I just had a question since my girlfriend just got a job. I’ve always claimed 3 meaning my self my son and my girlfriend. Should I conitinue claiming 3 since she got a job? She will be working part time as a waitress. Should she just claim zero? if you can help, I would appreciate it so much. Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Hi Patrick,

      I suggest that you claim two allowances and your girlfriend claim one.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. By following the directions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4, you will calculate the maximum amount that you can claim. However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a larger number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

  55. Ivan says:

    I live with my girlfriend and her two year old daughter. We both work. She claims 2 and I claim zero, should I increase this to 1? Would I still get a small refund every year?

    • admin says:

      Hi Ivan,

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. By following the directions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4, you will calculate the maximum amount that you can claim. However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a larger number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

  56. liz says:

    I am single with one kid and I am claiming three. Am I going to get a refund back?

    • admin says:

      Hi Liz,

      This will depend on your income, if you are claiming head of household, and several other factors.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck. By following the directions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4, you will calculate the maximum amount that you can claim. However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount taken out. If you claim a larger number, you’ll have less taken out. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      I also suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  57. Mark says:

    Hi I’m 18 and I have 1 job how many exemptions should I have if I’m single and have no kids

  58. Lisa says:

    My husband works full-time, we have one son, and I have two part-time jobs. I am filling out a W-4 for my second part-time job. What should I file on my W-4?

    • admin says:

      Hi Lisa,

      I would suggest that the spouse earning the higher income claim the majority of allowances on their W-4.

      For example, if your husband is earning a higher income at his full-time job then I suggest he claim your son and any other allowances that he chooses (ie: himself and any other dependents). I would then suggest that you claim one allowance at one job and zero at the other, or zero allowances at both jobs.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck each pay period. By following the directions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4 Form, you will calculate the maximum amount that you should claim. However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount withheld. If you claim a larger amount, you’ll have less withheld. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

  59. Corey says:

    I am married with one child. My wife works full time as do I and we file jointly. How should we file and how many dependents should we both claim

    • admin says:

      Hi Corey,

      It is typically most financially beneficial for a couple to file jointly unless there is a specific reason that they know they should not.

      When filling out your W-4 Form, the general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck each pay period. By following the directions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4 Form, you will calculate the maximum amount that you should claim. However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount withheld. If you claim a larger amount, you’ll have less withheld. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

      In order to do this, I suggest taking a look at the IRS Withholding Calculator. It only takes a few minutes to complete and will give you the most accurate amount of allowances to claim in order to reach that break-even point at the end of the tax year.

  60. Ciara says:

    Hi, I am 17 and still in high school with a part-time job. I am still a dependent on my parents. What do I claim on my W-4s. My employer says I can do claim exempt. Do I claim “0” or “1”. Thanks

    • admin says:

      Hi Ciara,

      I would suggest claiming zero on your W-4 as single with one source of income and your parents claiming you as a dependent.

  61. Karen says:

    Hi, I am 22 years old filing for the first time, had a full time job during 2014, Single. What are my tax exemptions on my W-4 “1” or “2”?

  62. Janet says:

    My husband was working but he lost his job and is not getting unemployment. I work a part time job. Can I claim him as an allowance even though he has worked?

    • admin says:

      Hi Janet,

      The amount you report on your W-4 can be as high or low as you choose. This is only an estimate for the amount that will be withheld from your pay throughout the year. When it comes to claiming him as a dependent when filing your taxes, you will need to refer to a set of requirements that you can find on the IRS website.

  63. Bre says:

    I am married 2 small kids me and my husband pretty much make the same amount of money what should we each put on our w4’s.

    • admin says:

      Hi Bre,

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck each pay period. By following the instructions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4 Form, you will calculate the maximum amount that you should claim (Keep in mind that this worksheet will not be given to your employer or the IRS). However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount withheld. If you claim a larger amount, you’ll have less withheld. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

  64. Steven says:

    I am married and will be filing jointly, my wife and I both work full time. We also have other side jobs that only total $5000 a year each. How many allowances should we claim on our individual pay checks in order to break even?

    • admin says:

      Hi Steven,

      I suggest that you each claim one with the provided information.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck each pay period. By following the instructions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4 Form, you will calculate the maximum amount that you should claim (Keep in mind that this worksheet will not be given to your employer or the IRS). However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount withheld. If you claim a larger amount, you’ll have less withheld. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

  65. Cristian says:

    Hi my sister leaves alone she has one kid and one only job what will be the best way for her to fill out a w4

    • admin says:

      Hi Christian,

      I suggest that she claim two on her W-4 form.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck each pay period. By following the instructions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4 Form, you will calculate the maximum amount that you should claim (Keep in mind that this worksheet will not be given to your employer or the IRS). However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount withheld. If you claim a larger amount, you’ll have less withheld. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

  66. Andrea says:

    What should I put as the total number of allowances on the W-4. I’m married filing joint, my husband works 1 full time job. I am starting employment (full-time), and we have 2 children.

    • admin says:

      Hi Andrea,

      I suggest that the spouse with the higher income claim the majority of allowances and the other claim one.
      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck each pay period. By following the instructions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4 Form, you will calculate the maximum amount that you should claim (Keep in mind that this worksheet will not be given to your employer or the IRS). However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount withheld. If you claim a larger amount, you’ll have less withheld. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability or refund, at the end of the year, be as close to zero as possible.

  67. Blanca velazco says:

    I am single mother with a full time job and I have 1 child how many allowances should I claim?

    • admin says:

      Hi Blanca,

      I suggest claiming two allowances on your W-4 form. The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck each pay period. By following the instructions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4 Form, you will calculate the maximum amount that you should claim (Keep in mind that this worksheet will not be given to your employer or the IRS). However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount withheld. If you claim a larger amount, you’ll have less withheld. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability or refund, at the end of the year, be as close to zero as possible.

  68. Bianca says:

    I’m married with one child. My husband doesn’t work and I recently got a part time job. I claimed one on my W-4. If my husband gets a job, can he claim as well? We do our taxes jointly.

    • admin says:

      Hi Bianca,

      He definitely can claim one.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck each pay period. By following the instructions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4 Form, you will calculate the maximum amount that you should claim (Keep in mind that this worksheet will not be given to your employer or the IRS). However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount withheld. If you claim a larger amount, you’ll have less withheld. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability (or refund) at the end of the year be as close to zero as possible.

  69. Jennifer Harm says:

    I’m married with no children. We live with my parents but pay them rent for the mortgage. For the past two years we have to owe the IRS more money, we always received a rebate in the past. We both claim 0 on our W-2’s. What should we do for next year in order to get a refund? I guess we make just enough money to fall into a higher tax bracket. Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck each pay period. By following the instructions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4 Form, you will calculate the maximum amount that you should claim (Keep in mind that this worksheet will not be given to your employer or the IRS). However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount withheld. If you claim a larger amount, you’ll have less withheld. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability or refund, at the end of the year, be as close to zero as possible.

  70. April says:

    Hi,
    I am single. I started a new job in jan 2015. I have a child that is 6 months. What should I claim on my w4?

    • admin says:

      Hi April,

      Congratulations on the new addition!

      I suggest claiming no more than three. The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck each pay period. By following the instructions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4 Form, you will calculate the maximum amount that you should claim (Keep in mind that this worksheet will not be given to your employer or the IRS). However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount withheld. If you claim a larger amount, you’ll have less withheld. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability or refund, at the end of the year, be as close to zero as possible.

  71. Je says:

    I work 2 full time jobs,annual income of 120,000 and my husband is not working ,no kids.what should be my number of allowance in my W-4.

    • admin says:

      Hi Je,

      I suggest claiming two allowances all together. You have a few options. You could claim both allowances on one W-4 and zero on the other (I suggest claiming on the higher paying job) OR you could split the allowances and claim one allowance on each W-4.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck each pay period. By following the instructions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4 Form, you will calculate the maximum amount that you should claim (Keep in mind that this worksheet will not be given to your employer or the IRS). However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount withheld. If you claim a larger amount, you’ll have less withheld. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability or refund, at the end of the year, be as close to zero as possible.

  72. Sue says:

    Hi,

    I am married with one child and one more coming. I am the primary breadwinner, my husband only makes less than 10k a year. What should i claim?

    • admin says:

      Hi Sue,

      I suggest claiming two or three.

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck each pay period. By following the instructions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4 Form, you will calculate the maximum amount that you should claim (Keep in mind that this worksheet will not be given to your employer or the IRS). However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount withheld. If you claim a larger amount, you’ll have less withheld. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability or refund, at the end of the year, be as close to zero as possible.

  73. Cheryl says:

    My friend is recently widowed, going from married to filing single in 2015… he makes about $100,00….how much more in taxes will he be burdened with, aside from him filing jointly previously…with with holdings, and of course excluding, no mortgage, has second mortgage…what is the difference between single vs married, what should he buy? like a second home to rent out, has a new camper with payment…Just want to tell him how he should adjust his W-4 so that he does not get hammered with taxes

    • admin says:

      Hi Cheryl,

      I am sorry for your friend’s loss.

      You can still file as married filing jointly with your deceased spouse for the year of death – unless you remarry during that year. It’s your responsibility to file a final return for your deceased spouse.

  74. Karan Singh says:

    I am married. My wife and I both work. She is 24 years old. And we do not have kids.

    I have been claiming her as my dependent for the past 2 years. And thus, my exemptions / allowances count on my W-4 has been 3.

    As for my spouse, she claimed 0 for the entire tax year of 2014. She was working with one job until August. Then, she quit, and found another one.

    Are we claiming the allowances correctly? I have a feeling that something may be off. Can you please guide us? Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Hi Karan,

      The general rule is that the more allowances you claim, the less withholding you’ll have taken out of your paycheck each pay period. By following the instructions on the Personal Allowances Worksheet of your W-4 Form, you will calculate the maximum amount that you should claim (Keep in mind that this worksheet will not be given to your employer or the IRS). However, you can always claim less than that to ensure that enough will be withheld from each paycheck. If you claim zero, you’ll have the maximum amount withheld. If you claim a larger amount, you’ll have less withheld. The absolute ideal scenario is to have your tax liability or refund, at the end of the year, be as close to zero as possible.

  75. Arri says:

    I have a son and I recently married my same sex domestic partner. She doesn’t work and is actually waiting on getting disability. I’ve put 1 in the allowances since I was old enough to work but how would I put this in my allowances, if I can change it? Also, would it be better to file next year separately or do a joint file?

    • admin says:

      Hi Arri,
      Congrats on your recent marriage!
      If you would like less tax withheld from your paychecks, I would suggest claiming your allowances to 2 (that’s if you plan on claiming your son when filing your taxes). Increasing the number of allowances you claim on your W4 decreases the amount of taxes withheld from your pay and also decreases the size of your tax refund.

      To answer your second question, filing jointly has more tax incentives. Unless you or your spouse has a high number of medical expenses, I would suggest filing jointly.

  76. Susan says:

    I am married and have 3 kids. My husband is 1099 every year and I have w2. We end up owing every year. What should I be claiming on my W4?

    • admin says:

      Hello Susan,

      You are most likely claiming a high amount of allowances on your W-4 which is why you end up owing the IRS at the end of the tax year. The W-4 only regulates how much money is withheld from your paycheck each pay period to cover the income taxes that need to be paid. To lower the amount owed to the IRS or to allow for a refund at the end of the year, updating your W-4 to claim less allowances may be a smart move. For example, if you are currently claiming 5 allowances, I suggest updating that to claiming 3 allowances. This will allow for more to be taken out of each paycheck but also lowers the amount you will be owing after filing.

  77. Simmy says:

    Hello:

    I am married, we both work full time and we have one child (3 of us in total), along with listing my grandfather as an exemption on our taxes. What should I put on my w4, 3 or 4? Is it true if I put three, I only have to pay state (California) taxes? If I put exempt and do not pay anything, how much will I owe later? What can I do if I put exempt so that I do not owe? I am trying to maximize the income I take home, and minimize the taxes I pay, without owing anything after I file taxes. I usually get a refund.

    Thank you.
    Simmy

    • admin says:

      Hi Simmy,

      When completing your W-4, it is important to understand how claiming allowances work. The higher the amount of allowances you claim, the less money will be withheld from each paycheck. You will see more money in each paycheck but may also owe (or have a smaller refund) after filing your taxes. On the other hand, if you claim less allowances on your W-4, you will see less money in each paycheck but will have a larger refund come tax time.

      When completing your W-4, choosing three allowances instead of four will not omit you from paying CA state taxes. How much you owe will ultimately depend on how much is withheld throughout the year, your income, filing status, etc…

  78. Lorena says:

    HI great article

    im sinlge no kids live alone have student loans which i make payment on every month. i always claim 1 for my allowance i was advised by an accountant to change it to 0 to get a bigger refund.
    but i want to change it i make about 44k and i want to claim 2 allowances is that a good idea? i dont want to owe money to the IRS and i dont mind a small or no tax refund.

    • admin says:

      Hi Lorena,

      Paying back student loans can be a bit of a burden. If you would like to see more of your income in each paycheck, you can update your W4 to claim two allowances instead of one. This will increase your likelihood of owing the IRS when filing. However, you may be eligible to claim your student loan interest, allowing you a bit of leeway for the extra allowances claimed throughout the year.

  79. Anita Rodriguez says:

    Hi I am married my husband is unemployed currently and we have two children. I am curious how to claim. I think I put 4 and my job still shoes 9 fed tax taken out my check. What’s wrong??????

    • admin says:

      Hi Anita,

      It is a smart move to double check your pay statements to make sure that the amount you’re claiming on your W-4 is up to date. Since you have noticed an issue with the amount, it is in your best interest to update this information with your payroll department. You can update the amount on your W-4 (and any other information reported on that form) as often as needed. The changes will be put into effect for the following pay period.

  80. Rob C says:

    Good morning! I am divorced, single-job, and my ex and I are each claiming one of our twins from now on. How should I be claiming my allowances? I believe I qualify as head of household since its only me and with a salary of around 80K I think I qualify for a child tax credit? I don’t care about a huge return, just really want to avoid owing come springtime next year.
    Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hello Rob,

      Your safest bet would be to claim two or three allowances on your W-4. Any more than that and you run the risk of owing the IRS come tax time. According to what you have stated above, you would qualify as head of household and could claim the child tax credit as well.

  81. MALIA says:

    Hello,
    I just recently got married, but I am the only one that has an income. What should i claim on my allowances?Also how will it affect my paycheck/ tax refund?

    • admin says:

      Hi Malia,

      Congratulations on getting married! As far as your W4 goes, you will need to update your filing status to ‘married’. When claiming allowances, you can still claim the same amount that you were claiming with a ‘single’ filing status. However, if you would like to see a bit more of each paycheck in your pocket throughout the year now that you are providing for two, you can increase that amount to two.

      You may also want to take a look at the withholding calculator that the IRS provides on their website which will allow you to take into account more personal information (ie: income, dependents, etc…) to see a more accurate amount to claim to break even come tax time.

  82. Rob says:

    I am married with two young children. Both my wife and I work full-time. This year our taxable income was about 161K. We ended up owing about 6K in taxes. What should our exemptions be so that we at least break even in our taxes? I previously had 2 exemptions and I am not sure about my wife. I just changed that to zero exemptions to have more taxes withheld. Does this seem like a reasonable plan of action?

    • admin says:

      Hi Rob,

      Lowering the amount that you each claim on your W-4 form will definitely lessen the amount you owe after filing. Also keep in mind that when filing a joint tax return, you and your spouse are seen as one single tax entity. This means that the amount you each claim on your W-4 will impact the total amount owed (or refunded) come time to file.

  83. Emily says:

    I am recently married and work full time. My husband is still in school and has a work study position. He will also be working a temporary, 10-week paid internship this summer before going back to school in the fall. Should I claim Married 2?

    • admin says:

      Hi Emily,

      Congratulations on getting married!

      Since you will be earning the higher income, you definitely have the right idea with claiming a higher amount of allowances than your spouse. If you claim two while your husband claims zero or one, you will most likely break even at tax time; not owing a large amount to the IRS or claiming an extremely large refund.

  84. Atal says:

    Between me and my husband we make 134k and have 2 kids. Seems like we are paying alot in taxes every paycheck.
    How much should be enter in our allowances to even break even or get refund.

    • admin says:

      Hi Atal,

      Unfortunately, there is no magic number of allowances to be claim on your W-4 form. Even the worksheet provided on your form will only provide you with an amount that you could realistically claim. My suggestion would be to claim a higher amount of allowances on your W-4 if you would like to receive more money with each paycheck. Keep in mind that by doing this, you will be allowing less to be withheld which could ultimately cause you to owe more to the IRS after filing.

      Another way to lower your tax bill would be to look into any credits that you are eligible to claim or deductions that you could report.

  85. ImProudMama says:

    My husband passed away April 1, 2015, at the time he passed away we were separated. We have one minor child together.

    Should I change my W-4 to Single or Married?

    Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Hi,

      I’m so sorry about your loss.

      If you were still officially married when he passed, you are considered ‘married’ for the whole year for filing status purposes. Therefore, you can keep a married status on your W-4 form for the year. If you do not remarry before the end of the tax year, you can file a joint tax return as well. If you remarried before the end of the tax year, you can file a joint return with your new spouse. Your deceased spouse’s filing status is married filing separately for that year.

  86. Marie Amafou says:

    Hello,

    My husband is working and is claiming me and my daughter. I just found a Job and need to file my w4. what is the best option so we can get any refund at the end. We file jointly.

    Thanks

    • admin says:

      Hi Marie,

      Congratulations and good luck with the new job!

      If you would like to receive a refund after filing your taxes, you should claim the least amount of allowances on your W-4 form as possible. Many will claim zero allowances to ensure themselves a refund after filing. This allows the maximum amount to be withheld from your paychecks to cover taxes due. If too much is withheld, a refund is issued. This is typically the case when claiming zero allowances. Claiming one allowance will allow for a bit more in each paycheck but less of a refund.

      Also keep in mind that you can update your W-4 when necessary and your payroll department will put the updates into effect immediately.

  87. Sara says:

    Divorced 2 kids their fathers claim them every other year. What do I put on my w4

    • admin says:

      Hi Sara,

      Since you will be claiming two dependents every other year, you will most likely want to update your W-4 form annually. That being said, if this is your year to claim them, you will want to claim two extra allowances than you would if this is the year their father will be claiming them on his taxes (and vice versa). To break it down even further, I suggest claiming one allowance on your W-4 for the years you aren’t claiming both dependents. On the years that you are claiming two dependents on your taxes, you should update your W-4 to claim three allowances.

      You’ll want to update your W-4 annually to ensure that enough is being withheld from your paychecks throughout the year to cover the taxes you owe.

  88. Cindy says:

    I’m 18 and a student – starting 2 part time jobs – for the Summer only –

    Do I have to file for Taxes if I make less than 3K?

    and how much should I claim on the W-4? My mom will claim me as a dependent for 2016.

    • admin says:

      Hi Cindy,

      If your only income for the tax year is less than $3,000 you do not need to file taxes. Keep in mind though that if you are having taxes withheld from your paychecks, you may want to file in order to claim a refund. The choice is yours but you are not required to do so.

      When it comes to your W-4, you should claim zero allowances. This should ensure that you won’t owe the IRS if you do end up filing to get a refund.

  89. Alvaro says:

    Hi I’m 19 i just finished H.S i still live with my parents but im going to do my taxes separate and i single with no kids how many allowances should i claim?

    • admin says:

      Hi Alvaro,

      Congrats on graduating! You’ll most likely want to claim zero or one allowance. If you claim zero, the maximum amount of tax will be withheld from your paychecks throughout the year. Now, if the amount withheld exceeds the amount you actually owe for taxes, you will be issued a refund from the IRS after you file. If you claim one, there will still be a substantial amount of tax withheld from your paychecks but you will see a bit more take-home-pay throughout the year. You may not want to claim more than one allowance since that could result in not enough taxes being withheld over the course of the year. That would cause you to owe the IRS after filing instead of getting a refund.

  90. Rob Ferreyra says:

    HI! I’m married no kids and making about 62k a year . My wife does not work so every penny counts. I want more money in my pocket now rather than a big refund at the end of the year . How many allowances should I claim? I really dont want to owe the IRS during tax season either

    • admin says:

      Hi Rob,

      Although you would like to see more in each paycheck now, I suggest claiming no more than three allowances on your W-4 form if you also do not want to owe the IRS after filing. Three allowances will give you more take-home-pay each pay period while also providing the IRS with a sufficient amount for taxes.

  91. Matt says:

    I’m currently claiming 2 and I work a full commission job which can be challenging so I’d like to get the most out of my paycheck. I work in a full commission job and then have a part time job where I barely work at all but I’m on their books. I’m single with no kids. I’m contemplating claiming more on certain pay periods in order to see more money back when the time calls for it but I’m also worried about over doing it to where I have to owe back taxes. I’m not making a tremendous amount of money and when I get paid, I’m typically taxed 30 to 33%. Is it okay to claim 5 occassionally and switch back to 2 and should I do this on bigger paychecks or the smaller ones? Thanks for your help!

    • admin says:

      Hi Matt,

      I see where you are coming from. However, if you are filing as single with no dependents, then you may want to claim zero or one allowances. This is especially true if you are planning to increase your allowances on high-commission pay periods. Claiming two already runs you the risk of owing the IRS after filing your taxes.

      That being said, you’ll want to claim the higher amount of allowances when you are receiving a larger paycheck.

  92. maribel says:

    I am single,head of household and with one dependent I filled out my w4 and it added up to 6 how many allowances should I be claiming

    • admin says:

      Hi Maribel,

      The personal allowance worksheet at the top of each W-4 form will help you calculate the maximum amount of allowances you can claim. I suggest claiming three allowances and if you feel that you need more money in each paycheck, adjust your W-4 as necessary. Keep in mind that claiming more allowances will give you more money each pay period but may result in owing the IRS after filing your tax return for the year.

  93. Margyn says:

    I’m a single 20 year old parent. I have a part time job and a 3 year old daughter. When I did my w-4 form at work I think I messed up cause it says I have 4 allowances, should I change that? How many allowances should I claim in my situation?

    • admin says:

      Hi Margyn,

      You may want to adjust your W-4 form so that more tax is being withheld from each of your paychecks this way you won’t end up owing the IRS a hefty amount after filing your tax return. If you are claiming your daughter as a dependent, then you will most likely want to claim two allowances. If you are also going to be filing as head of household, then you will want to claim an additional allowance for a total of three on your W-4 form.

  94. Jon M. says:

    Hello there. My wife and I divorced earlier this year. She keeps main custody of our two children, but I pay for child care. We both work full time. How should I adjust my W-4?

    • admin says:

      Hi Jon,

      Since you are not the custodial parent, you will not be the one to claim your children on your tax return. With that in mind, you will most likely want to adjust your W-4 form to claim one allowance for yourself. Now if you and your ex-wife have an agreement in which you WILL be claiming one or both of your children, then you will want to update your W-4 to add one allowance for each child.

  95. susy says:

    Am married with one baby were do i put the one in A B C D

    Thanks for the help

    • admin says:

      Hi Susy,

      If you already know how many allowances you would like to claim, you can report that number on line 5. As you will see (in extremely small print so it’s easy to overlook), you only need to provide your employer with the bottom half of the W-4 form. However, based on your situation above, you would most likely fill out the personal allowances worksheet with 1 allowance for “A” and 1 allowance for “D” (if you are claiming your child on your tax return as a dependent).

  96. Ben says:

    Hello there. I am married, no kids. I’ve a new job and I think I made a mistake on my W4 form.
    I make $110k per year. On my first paycheck, I received $5,006.41 for my first two weeks of work. My Net pay is $3,978.59.
    $644 have been withold for Federal M-4 (does that mean that I am claiming for 4 allowances?), $310.40 for OASDI and $72.59 for Medicare. Not sure if this sounds correct or not.
    Thanks for your help!

    • admin says:

      Hi Ben,

      Pay statements tend to overuse abbreviations to ensure that all of your information fits on one page so it can tend to get confusing. When you see FIT on your pay statement, it stands for “Federal Income Tax status” and the amount of exemptions you filed on your W-4 form. In your case, “M-4″ stands for Married claiming 4 exemptions. If you believe this to be incorrect, your payroll/human resources department can update this immediately by issuing a new W-4 form for you to complete.

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