Form W-4 & Wage Withholding (2004 IRS FAQ)

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IRS FAQ 12.4 Small Business/Self-Employed/Other Business  : Form W-4 & Wage Withholding

Can an employer take out taxes if a Form W-4 was never filed?

Yes, the employer is required to withhold income taxes. Publication 15, Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide, states that if an employee does not give you a completed Form W-4 (PDF), Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, withhold tax as if he or she is single, with no withholding allowances.

The employer is also required to withhold social security and Medicare taxes.


If an employee claims more than 10 exemptions on their Form W-4, does the employer have to report this to the IRS?

No, this requirement has been eliminated. In the past, employers had to routinely send the IRS any Form W-4 (PDF), Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, claiming more than 10 allowances or claiming complete exemption from withholding if $200 or more in weekly wages was expected. However, Forms W-4 are still subject to review. Employers may be directed (in a written notice or in future published guidance) to send certain Forms W-4 to the IRS. The IRS also will be reviewing employee withholding compliance and you may be required to withhold income tax at a higher rate if notified to do so by the IRS.



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