FAQ

How do I fill out a W-4 form?
The main thing you need to put on your W-4 besides your name, address and social security number is whether you are married or single and the number of exemptions you wish to take to lower the amount of money with held for taxes from your paycheck. The number of exemptions refers to how many people you support, i. e. children. Say you are single and have 3 children, you can put down 4 exemptions, 1 for your self and 1 for each child. This means you will have more pay to take home because you aren’t having it with held from your paycheck. If you are single and have no children, you can either take 1 or 0 exemptions. If you make decent money, take 0 deductions, if you are barely making it you could probably take 1 exemption. Just realize that if you take exemptions, and not enough money is taken out of your check to pay your taxes, you will be liable for it come April 15th.If you are married and have no children and you make decent money, take 0 deductions. If you have children, only one spouse should take them as exemptions and it should be the one who makes the most money. For example, say your spouse is the major bread winner and you have 2 children, your spouse could take 4 exemptions (one for each member of the family) and then you would take 0 exemptions.Usually, it’s best to err on the side of caution and take the smaller amount of deductions so that you won’t owe a lot of money come tax time. If you’ve had too much with held it will come back to you as a refund.
How should I fill out my w-2 or w-4 form?
To calculate how much you should withhold you need to calculate two things.  Step 1 - Estimate your TaxFirst go to Intuit's TaxCaster (Link - TurboTax® TaxCaster, Free Tax Calculator, Free Tax Refund Estimator) and put in your family's information and income (estimate what you'll make in 2016 before taxes and put zero for federal and state taxes withheld, don't worry that the TaxCaster is for 2015, you're just trying to get a general number).  Once you enter in your correct information it will tell you what you would owe to the federal government.Step 2 - Estimate your Tax Withholding Based on Allowances ClaimedSecond go to Paycheck City (Link - Salary Paycheck Calculator | Payroll Calculator | Paycheck City) select the correct state, enter in your pay information.  Select married filing jointly then try putting in 3 or 4 for withholdings.  Once you calculate it will tell you how much taxes are being withheld.  Set the pay frequency to annual instead of bi-monthly or bi-weekly since you need a total number for the year.  Try changing the Federal withholding allowance until you have enough Federal taxes withheld to cover the amount calculated in the TaxCaster.  The Federal withholding allowance number that covers all taxes owed should be the number claimed on your W-4.Don't worry too much about your state.  If you claim the same as Federal what will usually happen is you might get a small refund for Federal and owe a small amount for State.  I usually end up getting a Federal refund for ~$100 and owing state for just over $100.  In the end I net owing state $20-40.Remember, the more details you can put into the TaxCaster and Paycheck City the more accurate your tax estimate will be. 
Why did my employer give me a W-9 Form to fill out instead of a W-4 Form?
I wrote about the independent-contractor-vs-employee issue last year, see http://nctaxpro.wordpress.com/20...Broadly speaking, you are an employee when someone else - AKA the employer - has control over when and where you work and the processes by which you perform the work that you do for that individual. A DJ or bartender under some circumstances, I suppose, might qualify as an independent contractor at a restaurant, but the waitstaff, bus help, hosts, kitchen aides, etc. almost certainly would not.There's always risk in confronting an employer when faced with a situation like yours - my experience is that most employers know full well that they are violating the law when they treat employees as independent contractors, and for that reason they don't tolerate questions about that policy very well - so you definitely should tread cautiously if you want to keep this position. Nonetheless, I think you owe it to yourself to ask whether or not the restaurant intends to withhold federal taxes from your checks - if for no other reason than you don't want to get caught short when it comes to filing your own return, even if you don't intend to challenge the policy.
I want to invest my IRS withholdings. How do I fill out a W-4 so my employer does not do federal withholding?
Legally you can’t. Those withholdings are not yours. They are payments towards your tax liability, made at the time that you earn the income. Pay as you go. It makes sense.So what you want to do is borrow money that isn’t really yours, interest free, invest it for a few months, and then pay it back the next year. Is that correct? While it’s not really permitted you can manage to get away with it. You can’t easily get away with stopping all withholding. That requires stating that you expect to pay zero taxes for the year, which you know is false. It looks suspicious and is easy for the feds to check. Instead, what you can do is reduce your withholding by claiming a large number of exemptions. That’s not nearly as suspicious. When you complete your return you’ll owe a lot of tax, which is clearly against the rules, but you’ll probably get away with it at least for a year or two and maybe longer depending on how lax the IRS is in enforcing the law on scamsters like yourself.I used to claim a large number of exemptions. It was legitimate since I actually had a lot of deductions at that time. But a couple of years I accidentally withheld too little money, more than a couple of thousand dollars. I paid the tax with my return and adjusted my withholding going forward and the IRS didn’t penalize me or question it afterwards. But if you’re talking about under withholding by a lot more than that and year after year then good luck. You might get caught, forced to pay a penalty and interest, and be flagged for special attention in the future.
How much do accountants charge for helping you fill out a W-4 form?
A W-4 is a very simple form to instruct your employer to withhold the proper tax. It's written in very plain English and is fairly easy to follow. I honestly do not know of a CPA that will do one of these. If you're having trouble and cannot find a tutorial you like on line see if you can schedule a probing meeting. It should take an accounting student about 10 minutes to walk you through. There is even a worksheet on the back.If you have mitigating factors such as complex investments, partnership income, lies or garnishments, talk to your CPA about those, and then ask their advice regarding the W4 in the context of those issues.
Is it okay for a statutory employee to fill out a W-9 instead of a W-4?
Because the employer does not withhold taxes from the wages of statutory employees, a Form W-4 is not required.The employer does have IRS filing requirements for statutory employees where the employer needs the employee's taxpayer ID number, and Form W-9 is the recognized way to request a taxpayer ID number.So everything here is correct.
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