Form W-4

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.


  • Sample Letter for employers to explain the 2020 Form W-4 to their employees

IRS Resources