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CarolynS2
Returning Member

W-4 for a widow

I am a widow (of more than 2 years). I have 1 child over 18 (a full time college student) and another who is 17 (a full time high school student).  How I change my w-4 in order to NOT have to PAY at tax time?  (or even a return would be nice).  I do not need to take home more money in my paycheck.

Thanks!

1 Reply
Sean-A
Employee Tax Expert

W-4 for a widow

Hello, 

The IRS replaced the old Form W4 with a new system beginning in 2020.

It’s easy to adjust your withholding.  You can do it on paper or electronically.  The old-fashioned way is to walk through the worksheets on the W-4 form.

An even easier way is to use the TurboTax W-4 Calculator.

https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/calculators/w4/

In order to change your W-4 so that you do not have to pay at tax time, you would want to adjust your tax withholding amount on your W4.

Adjusting your tax withholding isn't difficult. All you need to do is fill out a new Form W-4 and give it to the correct department at your employer.

The required information can usually be found on your prior year's tax return or your current pay stubs. You'll need to make adjustments for changes from the previous year to make sure it reflects your current situation.

Once you complete the form, give it to your employer. Then, keep a close eye on your next few paychecks to see how the changes impacted your federal income tax withholding.

 

1)W-4 form with instructions

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf


2)TurboTax and IRS W-4 Calculators:  

https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/calculators/w4/

 

IRS W-4 :

http://www.irs.gov/W4App


Here are a couple of steps that you can use in order to have more taxes taken out during the year so that you do not have to pay at tax time:

1) Remedy to increase withholding from paycheck:

Remove the Child Tax Credit from Step 3 (Claim Dependents), this will remove the credit and allow the employer to withhold more taxes.

 

2) Additional Withholding in Step 4 (c) – Extra Withholdings – put an amount here to be withheld each pay period.

Again, 
keep a close eye on your next few paychecks to see how the changes impacted your federal income tax withholding.


For the two years following a spouse's death, the surviving spouse can file as a qualifying widow or widower. That basically lets you continue to use the same tax brackets that apply to married-filing-jointly returns.
 

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