July 15, 2019

New IRS Form W-4: What You Need to Know

If you were one of the taxpayers who received a smaller than expected refund or went from a refund position to a balance due when you filed your 2018 tax return, you’re not alone. This is because the withholding tables were altered in early 2018 to accommodate for the expected tax savings brought about by the TCJA (Tax Cuts & Jobs Act). Truth is, in high tax states such as our beloved California, those tax savings were less than anticipated in large part due to the SALT (State and Local Taxes) cap of $10K.

While it’s not to say that you got ripped off by Uncle Sam, per se, you just didn’t withhold at the surplus you may have thought you were, which likely caused you to adjust your budgeting going forward because you don’t have as much after-tax income as you originally planned on.

Needless to say, this rubbed a large contingent of taxpayers the wrong way, which has lead to the IRS creating a completely overhauled version of Form W-4, “Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate.” There is a draft form currently available with the final version expected to be released by November, and thus would be used in totality starting tax year 2020.

We’ve reviewed the draft form, and for many taxpayers, it will be akin to pre-filing a tax return due to all of the considerations incorporated into the Form. There is also a high likelihood for the layperson to get it wrong and find themselves in a more precarious position than they would have been with the old Form W-4 which, by the way, will be an alternative to using the new W-4.

If withholding accuracy is your concern, the best way to set yourself up for success is to work with a CPA that can help you with a tax projection that incorporates all of the provisions of the tax year in question, as well as the particulars of your situation. Might we suggest working with a Dark Horse CPA? We’ve helped countless clients get their withholdings dialed in so that they can plan their budgets accordingly and sleep easier at night.

Mention this article and we’ll give you a free 30-day trial of one of our tax planning subscriptions.

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