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Second 2020 Form W-4 Draft

IRS Posts Second 2020 Form W-4 Draft

The IRS has posted a second draft of 2020 Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate. The new form does not change the computation of withholding contained in the first draft and there will be no substantive changes when the final version is published. The previous version of Form W-4 calculated a taxpayer’s income tax withholding using a withholding allowance based on the personal exemption amount. In 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspended personal exemptions and substantially increased the standard deduction. The mismatch between the old Form W-4 and the new tax law has caused some taxpayers to be over- or under-withheld.

On May 31, 2019, The IRS issued a draft of Form W-4 for 2020. That draft implemented the changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The redesigned form no longer used the concept of withholding allowances tied to the personal exemption. The IRS has now posted the second draft 2020 Form W-4 so that the programming of payroll systems can begin.

The IRS explains that the computation of withholding has not changed from the first draft 2020 Form W-4. The IRS expects the final version of 2020 Form W-4 to be issued in the late-fall 2019, with no further substantive changes expected.

Changes Contained in the Second Draft

The second draft changes the title of the form by removing the word “allowance.” The concept of withholding allowances, which was previously tied to the amount of the personal exemption, is no longer being used.

Some other small adjustments include changing the name of Step 2 from “Account for Multiple Jobs” to “Multiple Jobs or Spouse Works.” This step is for employees who hold multiple jobs at the same time or are married filing jointly and the employee and his/her spouse both work.

There is also a change for claiming exemption from federal income tax withholding for 2020. On the first draft, employees claiming such an exemption would write the word “Exempt” in box 4(d) of Step 4 “Other Adjustments (optional).” The second draft removes box 4(d) and instructs employees claiming exempt to write “Exempt” in box 4(c) of Step 4.

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