Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
1187 helpful votes

What’s changing with the Federal W-4?

Learn about the new changes to the Federal W-4 and how to enter and print a W-4 for employees.

Here are a few things you need to know about the changes:

What are the major changes to the W-4?The new changes are apart of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The act made it necessary to revise the Federal W-4 form. There are a few key changes:

  • Allowances that were tied to a personal exemption amount are no longer allowed by law.
  • The ability for an employee to account for other income from other jobs or additional income is clearly represented leading to a more accurate calculation of withholding tax for the year.
  • New filing statuses have been provided.

Do I need to ask all of my existing employees to fill out the new 2020 Form W-4?No. Employees who have submitted Form W-4 in any year before 2020 are not required to submit a new form merely because of the redesign. Employers will continue to compute withholding based on the information from the employee’s most recently submitted Form W-4.

Can I ask all of my employees to fill out a new 2020 Form W-4?You may ask, but as part of the request, you should explain two things. First, they are not required to submit a new Form W-4. Second, if they do not submit a new Form W-4, withholding will continue based on a valid form previously submitted.

What information do I enter if my employee has not provided me with a Form W-4 and their hire date is in 2020?

New employees who are required to fill out the new 2020 Form W-4 but fail to submit one must be set-up with the following entries:

  • Filing Status = Single
  • Multiple Jobs/Spouse Works (2c) = Not Checked
  • Claim Dependent Amount = $0
  • Other Income = $0Deductions = $0
  • Extra Withholding = $0

How do I estimate the tax withholdings?If you need to figure out what you need to pay, get an estimate for the tax withholdings.

Enter and print a W-4 into your payroll

With Payroll, you can enter your employees’ W-4s. You can either enter their W-4 with a 2019 form or use a W-4 form with the 2020 update.

Employees that need the 2020 Form W-4 include:

  • Employees hired on or after, January 1, 2020
  • Employees who make changes to their withholding elections at any time in 2020 or later
  • Employees who have never given you a Federal Form W-4

Note: Once you update an employee’s W-4 to the 2020 version, you’ll not be able to change back to the 2019 version.

Learn how to enter a W-4 with:

QuickBooks Online Payroll

  1. Select Workers, then Employees.
  2. Select the name of the employee.
  3. Select Edit ✎ beside Pay.
  4. Select the 2020 W-4 or later radio button.
  5. SelectUpdate
  6. Enter the employee's W-4 information into the form.
  7. Select Done to save.

QuickBooks Desktop Payroll

  1. Go to Employees, and then Employee List.Select the name of the employee. 
  2. Select Payroll Info, and then select Taxes
  3. On the W-4 Form dropdown, select 2020 and Later
  4. Make sure your employee complies with the points on the Federal W-4 form popup, and then select OK. 
  5. Enter the employee's W-4 information into the form
  6. Select OK to save.

Intuit Online Payroll

  1. Select Workers and then Employees.
  2. Select the employee's name.
  3. In the Taxes and Exemptions section, select Edit.
  4. Select the 2020 W-4 or later radio button. 
  5. Enter the employee's W-4 information into the form.
  6. Select Ok to Save


Print a W-4 form for an employee

You can print a W-4 form from the IRS site or from all of QuickBooks Online Payroll family with the steps below.

QuickBooks Online Payroll

  1. Select Taxes, then Payroll Tax.
  2. Under Forms, select Employee Setup.
  3. Select the small arrow ▼ icon to choose the employee you want to print a W-4 form for.
  4. Select W-4.
  5. Select View, then print the form.

Intuit Online Payroll Enhanced

  1. Select Taxes & Forms, then Employee and Contractor Setup.
  2. Select the small arrow ▼ icon to choose the employee you want to print a W-4 form for.
  3. Select W-4.
  4. Select View, and then print the form.

Intuit Online Payroll Full Service

A prefilled W-4 form is not available in Intuit Online Payroll Full Service, but you can print a blank one. Here's how you print a blank W-4 form:

  1. Select Employees.
  2. Select the employee's name.
  3. In the Taxes section, select Edit.
  4. Select blank W-4 form and print.

Who fills out the W-4?

The W-4 has a series of worksheets to help employees complete the form on their own. A completed W-4 would then need to be provided to the employer so that the employer knows how much to withhold from each paycheck.

Do I have to file the W-4?

Employers do not need to file the W-4. However, the IRS does require employers to keep the W-4 in their records for at least 4 years.

What if I don't have a W-4 for my employee?

Per the IRS guidelines, if you don't receive a completed W-4 from an employee, withhold their tax as single with no withholding allowances.

Was this helpful?

You must sign in to vote, reply, or post

Need to get in touch?

Contact us