The tax man's coming to get me! But hopefully to give me more money...
March 18, 2008 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Help! I incorrectly filled out my W-4! I'm in the process of rectifying this, but what happens after the fact?

So I put down the wrong number of exemptions (should only be 1, while I put down 2 (damn tax forms are confuzzling)). Should I be expecting a bigger paycheck? A, God forbid, smaller one? Is there anything else I should be doing in the mean time?
posted by chan.caro to Work & Money (6 answers total)
You'll have not enough withheld - you'll get a bigger paycheck, but owe more next April.

Just get a new W-4, fill it out correctly, and make sure you aren't in the red next time taxes roll around.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:16 PM on March 18, 2008

I think smaller paycheck. Nothing too horrible, you may end up owing the IRS this year. Now, if you had claimed 8 exemptions....
posted by francesca too at 1:26 PM on March 18, 2008

Tomorrowful is correct. The higher the withholding number, the less will be withheld, meaning more net pay.

If you're not planning to save money to pay back the IRS next year, change it to a lower number.
posted by bryanjbusch at 1:33 PM on March 18, 2008

Everyone is correct, but the one downside of not paying enough into the IRS from your paycheck and having to pay in April is that the disparity between tax witheld and tax owed may be great enough that you end up also owing a penalty. Going from a 2 to a 1 shouldn't be an issue however, unless you're making tons and tons of money. I'd been a 2 for a number of years on my W4, and just changed it to a 1 this year. I went from owing a couple hundred to getting a couple hundred returned. It's not a big deal.
posted by LionIndex at 1:50 PM on March 18, 2008

There are a lot of things that get you out of paying a penalty (such has if you made significantly more this year than the previous year); I wouldn't worry too much about it.
posted by Doohickie at 2:40 PM on March 18, 2008

Check your state tax form, too. I filled out mine for MD with 1 exemption the first year at a new job. MD hit me with a nasty tax bill. I refiled it with zero exemptions. Still got a tax bill almost as high. I inquired with my HR folks. They never processed the change. Ooops. And, I have to pay county and local taxes, so there's extra withholding that wasn't done. MD is assessing me a penalty fee for underpayment throughout the year, plus the taxes owed. Sucks.
posted by Corky at 8:34 PM on March 18, 2008

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