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Changing W-4 form California

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  • Changing W-4 form California

    How many times can an employee change his W-4 form? This employee uses it to get more money from his paycheck, not really for life changes (marraige, kids. etc.)
    I know many peoiple change at beginning and ending of the year, but is there a limit as to how many times it can be done? Can we as an employer limit it?
    Thank for your help.

  • #2
    An employee can change his W-4 withholding amount as many times as he likes. However, you have 30 days to implement the change, which may discourage your employee. Also, if the W-4 is not filled out correctly, you should not accept it.,,id=199642,00.html


    • #3
      I would, however, if you're going to implement the 30-day time frame, that you do it across the board for every W-4 submitted. And, to be fair, I'd advise the employees, perhaps via memo, that this new policy will be effective XX date.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


      • #4
        Thank you for your input. We will not be implementing the 30 day rule, as long as the W-4 is submitted before payroll is processed , it will be honored.
        We just want to make sure the proper document is completed, and not just an email stating "don't take taxes out this pay period" is used to do the change.


        • #5
          Also, there is a rather complicated technical argument that only one W-4 can legally be in effect for any one pay period. This is based on a hard reading of the IRC and related regulations.

          While I am in agreement that full use of the 30 day rule is punitive and unnecessary, I would only allow a single W-4 active for the entire pay period. I would not allow employees to try to have different W-4s active for different checks/payments in the same pay period. Example. We have an annual bonus and the employee submits an Exempt W-4 that they want active for the bonus only. I have had employees submit a half dozen different W-4s at the same time, with (often illegal) instructions on how they want each check/payment handed, basically one W-4 instruction for each check/payment.


          Also, since we are talking CA, when you get a W-4, is the employee talking about FIT? CA-SIT? Both? And whatever you decide, is the employee going to come back later and claim you did it wrong?

          CA has it's own form. It is a really good idea to make employees use it and use the W-4 for FIT only.


          And are you using W-4 as your address change mechanism? Legally the W-4 changes the W-2 address. Lets say your CA employee who you know as a fact is working in CA gives you a W-4 with a FL address. I have had employees who have not only done that, but claim that this action "turns off" CA taxes. (Not legally it does not).

          There is some risk at trying to use exactly the same form for more then one unrelated result. Employees will come back and claim that you failed to correctly read their mind when you do that.
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


          • #6
            We only use the W-4 for FIT, if they want a change in CA, they must submit the DE-4. I have had employees who later complained that we still "over-deducted" for CA and had to explain the process to them.
            We use a change of address form and other specific forms depending on the action to be taken.


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