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. A nearly final version of the publication was released on November 4. The final version, which will include the 2020 withholding tables, is expected to be released in mid-December.
- Sample Letter for employers to explain the 2020 Form W-4 to their employees
- Tools (2019 Form W-4 and draft 2020 form comparison tables, side-by-side views mapping the changes)
- IRS Releases Third Draft of 2020 Withholding Methods Publication, APA News, 11-7-19.
- Withholding Scenarios (based on the second draft of the 2020 Form W-4 and Publication 15-T).
- 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.
- Payroll Currently, Issue 7, Vol. 27, "Draft 2020 Form W-4 Scenarios Using the Worksheet": APA created three scenarios to demonstrate how to calculate federal income tax withholding following the instructions in the draft of Publication 15-T.
- Inside Washington, July 2019, "APA Comments on Early Draft 2020 Form W-4, Instructions": The APA offered recommendations on the early release drafts of the 2020 Form W-4 and Publication 15-T to the IRS in June.
- Payroll Currently, Issue 6, Vol. 27, "IRS Releases Draft of 2020 Form W-4 for Comments": The IRS released an early draft of the redesigned 2020 Form W-4.
- 2020 Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Certificate (12-4-19)
- Draft 2020 Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Certificate (second draft released on 8-8-19)
- Draft 2020 Publication 15-T, Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods (third draft released on 11-4-19)
- IRS FAQs on the Draft 2020 Form W-4
- IRS Tax Withholding Estimator
- IRS Paycheck Checkup Flyer (Publication 5303)
- APA Webinars: Avoid 2020 Form W-4 Anxiety and Disruption of Your Payroll Department (live on 12-12-19 and 12-19-19; Webinar On Demand available after recording)
- IRS Webinar: Understanding the 2020 Form W-4 and How to Use it to Compute Withholding (recorded on 10-22-19)
- APA's Preparing for Year-End and 2020 (Webinar On Demand available until 3-31-20)