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Make note of changes to W-4 form in 2020

Dec. 19, 2019, 2:24 PM

The 2020 Form W-4, “Employee’s Withholding Certificate,” is very different from previous versions due to the federal tax law changes that took place in 2018. The Internal Revenue Service is not requiring all employees to complete the revised form and has designed the withholding tables so that they will work with both the new and prior-year forms. However, certain employees will be required to use the new form: those hired in 2020, and anyone who makes withholding changes during 2020.

Even though the IRS does not require all employees to complete the revised form and even if your tax situation has not changed, we recommend you perform a “paycheck checkup” to see if you need to make adjustments to your current withholding. To conduct the checkup, you can use the IRS’ Tax Withholding Estimator (www.irs.gov/W4App). To effectively use the estimator, it is helpful to have a copy of your most recent pay stub and tax return. It is likely that the estimator will be updated to account for the 2020 tax tables in early January. Please note: If you do not submit a new form, withholding will continue based on your previously submitted form.

Before completing the 2020 Form W-4, please read the instructions that are included with the form. You must complete steps 1 and 5. Complete steps 2 through 4 only if they apply to you. Doing so will make your withholding more accurately match your tax liability. Step 1 is for your personal information; step 2 is for households with multiple jobs; step 3 is used to claim tax credits for dependents; step 4 is for other adjustments (additional income such as interest and dividends, itemized deductions that exceed the standard deduction, and extra tax you want withheld); and step 5 is where you sign the form.

The IRS takes your privacy seriously and suggests that if you are worried about reporting income from multiple jobs in step 2 or other income in step 4(a), check the box in step 2(c) or enter an additional withholding amount in step 4(c). To determine the additional withholding amount, you can use the withholding estimator. The IRS also has published Frequently Asked Questions that you may find helpful as you complete the form (https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/faqs-on-the-draft-2020-form-w-4).

If you do elect to update your tax withholdings for 2020, you can do so through Oracle. After logging in, click on the “Me” icon from your Oracle homepage and then “Tax Withholding.”

International employees (including international student workers) with a Glacier profile should use their Glacier generated W-4. Non-resident aliens for tax purposes should not update their W-4 in Oracle. If you have questions about this process, contact the International Tax Office at ito@vanderbilt.edu.

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