The recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed in to law by President Trump late last year, suspended personal exemption deductions - a key component of the Form W-4. This left payroll professionals worried about transferring current withholding for their employees to the newly updated tax rates and income brackets.
But that worry is unnecessary for now. There is no need for employees to re-do their current Form W-4s in response to tax reform. The IRS issued guidance earlier this week about Form W-4 that:
- Extends the use of the existing 2017 Form W-4 until the IRS finalizes an updated 2018 version.
- Suspends a rule stating employees must notify their employers of changes to their withholding within ten days.
- Offers new rate (22%) of optional withholding on supplemental wages.
- States withholding on periodic payments when no withholding certificate is in effect is based on treating the employee as married and having three withholding allowances.
The IRS designed the 2018 withholding tables and percentages, released earlier in 2018, to work with the 2017 Form W-4. However, the IRS must revise the following sections:
- Line Number 5: Total numbers of allowances an employee claims.
- Line D: The number of dependents an employee claims.
Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the IRS could potentially delay making changes until 2019. At this point, there is no clear indication when the new Form W-4 will be available - but when it is both paper and electronic withholding forms will need to be updated.