The last thing you want to do is frantically run up to your boss asking “How many allowances do I claim on my W-4?”.
Being aware of the number of allowances you are claiming on a Form W-4 [Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate] is important for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, the number of allowances you claim on a W-4 determines the following;
- how much tax will be taken from your income (aka the withholding amount)
- the size of your tax refund
Steps to filling out a W-4
You’ll need to follow four simple steps when filling out your W-4 Form:
- Fill out your personal information (Name, Date of Birth, Address, Marital Status)
- Know the number of personal and dependency exemptions you are claiming on your tax return.
- Based on the number from step 2, use that number to help determine your number of allowances.
- Don’t forget to sign the W-4 and turn it into your employer!
The allowances you claim while filling out a W-4 if you are single will differ from the allowances you claim if you are married or have kids.
Claiming zero allowances
- The maximum amount of tax is withheld. Meaning, when it comes time to file your tax return you will most likely receive a refund.
- You’re being claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.
Claiming one allowance (ideal if you are single with one job)
- You’re single and have one job. Claiming one allowance will most likely result in a refund when you file your taxes.
Claiming two allowances
- You are single. Claiming two allowances will get you close to your tax liability but may result in tax due when filing your taxes.
- You’re single and work more than one job. Claim one allowance at each job or two allowances at one job and zero at the other.
- You’re married.
Claiming three allowances
- You are married with one child.
Claiming additional allowances
- File as head of household if you are eligible. You are able to claim additional allowances.
- You had at least $2,000 of child or dependent care expenses that you plan on claiming credit
- You’re eligible to claim the Child Tax Credit
Can I fill out a new W-4 form?
Yes, employees can submit a new W-4 form to their employee at any time during their employment. Have you recently started a second job, had a baby, or tied the knot? Life changes such as these should encourage you to update your W-4 withholding.
A great tool to help you while filling out a W-4 is the IRS Withholding Calculator, located on the IRS website.
Claiming zero allowances means less take home pay, but a bigger tax refund during tax season.
The number you report on a W-4 will ultimately determine your take home pay and your tax refund. Don’t write down any number. Take the few extra minutes to really assess your situation and fill in the W-4 accordingly. By doing so you’re less likely find yourself in a difficult financial situation.
Then, when you’re ready to file your taxes, you’ll have a heads up on whether or not you’ll be receiving a tax refund!
1,551 Replies to “Do I Claim Zero, One, Two W-4 Allowances?”
I’m single no dependents 1 job. However my dad lives with me and I pay over half the cost of living expenses in the home. How many allowances should I claim ? Should I file as head of household?
I am single with no dependents. I am wondering about all these replies. Do any of you have deductions on your tax returns example interest on your homes and etc etc. ? Because I do and other deductions. I just changed my withholdings to S-1. It is a HUGE chunk out of my check each week. Unbelievable. Just curious. I don’t want to owe money ever again come APril 15th.
My wife is working a job for supplemental income. It pays her $8900. Last year we owed 1977 in fed taxes and I would like to avoid it this year. What should she select on her W4? Thank you
I just got married in May and have to file a new w4 form with my work. My husband and I don’t have any kids. But we both work full time. What should I file for my taxes? I was going to do 0. Will that work okay with filing joint taxes? And how do we file jointly?
I am Single and have two children when filling out my W-4 i was looking at the personal allowances worksheet. and I added all up and it came out to 11 is that what i put in the allowance certificate? I do want to get a tax refund and have then withhold a little more taxes. What should I do?