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Box 2c

My wife and I have some disparity in our income. I don't understand why checking box 2c would cause us to have more money withheld. In 2020, I did not check this box and we owed $4000. In 2021, I did check the box and we were refunded $2000 (similar AGIs both years). 


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Employee Tax Expert

Box 2c

Hi, goatie2!

Thanks for the question!


To use box 2c, you want to only have 2 jobs and both jobs need to be for about the same dollar amount. This FAQ answer below from the IRS may help.  If you have jobs that are significantly different in wages, using box 2C can result in over or under withholding.  Also, note, both jobs need a W-4 submitted with box 2c checked for it to work out right. 


  • Step 2(c): If you (and your spouse) have a total of only two jobs held at the same time, you may check the box in Step 2(c) on the Forms W-4 for both jobs. That is, to use this option, you should complete a Form W-4 for each job with the box in Step 2(c) checked. The standard deduction and tax brackets will be cut in half for each job to calculate withholding. You will not need to furnish a new Form W-4 to account for pay changes at either job. This option is accurate for jobs with similar pay; otherwise more tax than necessary may be withheld from your wages. This extra amount will be larger the greater the difference in pay is between the two jobs.



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