The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law late December 2017, dramatically shifted the tax code, altering rates, income brackets, and Form W-4. The law eradicates personal exemption deductions from Form W-4, which affects Line Number 5 (total number of allowances an employee claims) and Line D (number of dependents an employee claims).
However, to properly update the withholding allowance certificate takes ample time, which was not given. Early in January 2018, the IRS issued guidance to payroll departments on how to handle Form W-4, stating it was appropriate to continue to use the 2017 form. The IRS issued other guidance, including:
- New rate of 22% for optional withholding on supplemental wages.
- Withholding on periodic payments when no withholding certificate exists is based on treating an employee as married and having three withholding allowances.
Originally the effective period for 2017 exemption was set to expire Thursday (February 15, 2018), but because Form W-4 hasn't been released, employees may continue to claim exemption from withholding in 2018 by using the 2017 form. Once the new form is released, employees have 30 days to refile.
The IRS hopes to release the new form by end of February. Some employees but not all will have to update either their paper or online withholding forms. Symmetry’s sister site PaycheckCity offers a W-4 assistant that will update when the new form releases.