Guide to Completing a Federal W4 Form

Guide to Completing a Federal W4 Form
This guide is to assist you in completing a valid W4 form. The information contained
here is not intended to be tax advice. It is strongly recommended you consult your own
tax advisor for any questions on how the completion of this form will affect your tax
If you elect to have your California state tax allowance differ from your federal tax allowance,
please complete and submit a California DE4 form at:
1. The top section of the W4 is a worksheet to help you calculate your allowances. It is NOT
REQUIRED to complete this section of the form. However, it may assist you in determining
an “allowance” number to write in box 5.
2. Complete the bottom section of the form with your personal information including your full
legal name and social security number as it appears on your social security card. Include your
current mailing address.
3. Explanation of boxes:
Box 5: Enter number of allowances you want to claim. The top section of the form is an
aid to help you determine the appropriate number of allowances. The lower the number,
the more federal taxes are taken out of your pay check. The lowest number that can be
entered is “0.” The higher the number, the less federal taxes are taken out of your pay
check. There is no maximum number.
Box 6: This box is a fixed dollar amount in taxes you want deducted from your
paycheck in addition to the taxes that will be taken out based off your allowances you
claim in box 5. It is optional.
Box 7: If you meet the exemption requirements noted one the page, then you may write
“Exempt” in box 7. Claiming “Exempt” means you will NOT have any federal taxes
taken out of your paycheck. Perform your own due diligence to ensure claiming Exempt
is appropriate for your tax situation.
***NOTE***: You can’t have a number in box 5 AND write “Exempt” in box 7. It must be one or the other.
Completing both box 5 and 7 will result in your W4 being invalid. Invalid W4’s can’t be processed and
therefore can delay your pay.
4. Make sure you sign and date the bottom of the form. Forms missing signatures will be
considered incomplete. Incomplete forms can’t be processed and therefore can delay your pay.