The 2020 Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Certificate, is substantially different from previous versions of the form. The IRS revised the form to comply with the income tax withholding requirements in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Pub. L. 115-97). The form no longer uses the concept of withholding allowances to account for additional income, deductions, and tax credits, but includes lines where employees can enter those amounts directly so they can be used to calculate the withholding amount.
While the form is different, the IRS designed the withholding tables to work with a prior year form or the 2020 form. The IRS is not requiring all employees to complete a new form. However, the new form is required for all new hires in 2020 and for employees who have completed a Form W-4 before 2020 and want to make changes to their withholding in 2020. Also, while employers may not require employees to complete a new form, they may ask them to do so.
The IRS also created a new publication – Publication 15-T, Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods – to explain how withholding is calculated with the prior year and 2020 Forms W-4. The final version of the publication, which includes the 2020 withholding tables, was released in mid-December.
- Inside Washington, September 2021, "APA Recommends Simplified Version of Form W-4": The APA Government Relations Task Force Form W-4 Workgroup recommended that the IRS create a Form W-4SN, Employee's Withholding Certificate – Single Job, No Dependents.
- Inside Washington, July 2021, "Government Relations Task Force Establishes Form W-4 Workgroup": The APA Government Relations Task Force Subcommittee on Federal Issues formed the Form W-4 Workgroup in June.
- Payroll Currently, Issue 2, Vol. 28, "IRS Updates Tax Withholding Estimator for 2020": The IRS released a new version of its tax withholding estimator, which incorporates changes from the redesigned Form W-4.
- Payroll Currently, Issue 1, Vol. 28, "IRS Releases Publication 15-T": The IRS released the final version of the 2020 Publication 15-T, which describes how to figure federal income tax withholding on wages paid beginning January 1, 2020.
- Payroll Currently, Issue 1, Vol. 28, "States React and Adjust to Federal 2020 Form W-4": The 2020 Form W-4 is greatly impacting states that do not have their own state form and rely on the federal form, and states that do have their own form but accept the federal form as a substitute.
- Withholding Scenarios (based on the 2020 Form W-4 and Publication 15-T).
- Tools (2019 Form W-4 and draft 2020 form comparison tables, side-by-side views mapping the changes)
- Payroll Currently, Issue 12, Vol. 27 , "IRS Issues 2020 Form W-4; Publication 15-T Slated for Later Release": The IRS released the 2020 Form W-4 on December 4. The form has few changes from the second early draft, which the IRS released in August.
- Payroll Currently, Issue 9, Vol. 27, "IRS Releases Second Drafts of Form W-4, Publication 15-T": The IRS released the second early drafts of the 2020 Form W-4 and the 2020 Publication 15-T.
- Payroll Currently, Issue 8, Vol. 27, "IRS Creates New Tool for Employees to Figure Tax Withholding": The IRS created an expanded, mobile-friendly online tool to make it easier for employees to have the right amount of tax withheld during the year.
- Payroll Currently, Issue 7, Vol. 27, "IRS Releases Draft Instructions for 2020 Income Tax Withholding, Form W-4": On June 7, the IRS released a draft of the new 2020 Publication 15-T, Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods.