Filing taxes can be confusing for anyone. Every year people struggle to understand what tax allowances are and how they impact income tax, or if you should claim 1 or 0 on your taxes. For better or worse, you no longer have to decide between claiming zero allowances, fewer allowances, or the correct number of allowances.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) updated Form W-4 back in 2020. Taxpayers no longer have to stress over claiming tax allowances.
What Were Tax Allowances?
Tax allowances previously allowed taxpayers to reduce their federal income tax. Eligible taxpayers could claim a specific number of allowances on a Form W-4. Allowances indicated to employers and the federal government that the taxpayer qualified to pay less federal income tax.
Claiming the correct number of allowances was unfairly tricky. Taxpayers used a personal allowances worksheet to calculate how many allowances to claim. Filing mistakes on tax forms were common and resulted in unsatisfied taxpayers.
- Zero Allowances: Claiming zero meant you wanted the employer to withhold as much money as possible for federal income taxes.
- Too Few Allowances: Accidentally claiming fewer allowances meant you may have paid too much in taxes. You received a tax refund during tax season if you paid more than necessary.
- Too Many Allowances: Accidentally claiming a high number of allowances may have resulted in a hefty tax bill.
What Happened To Withholding Allowances?
Now that you no longer have to specify the number of allowances on Form W-4, how do you withhold taxes this tax season?
The new W-4 has simplified the tax filing process, but it may now be harder to alter tax withholding. Withholding allowances are no longer relevant, but eligible taxpayers may qualify for the Child Tax Credit. The number of dependents in the household and the taxpayer’s income affect tax withholding. If you meet the minimum requirements, you may qualify for the Child Tax Credit.
What Is the Child Tax Credit?
The child tax credit is a tax benefit given to eligible taxpayers with dependent children. A tax benefit offers financial support in place of withholding allowances. The Child Tax Credit decreases a taxpayer’s total amount of tax owed. With more money in your pocket, you can spend more on necessary personal expenses and cease strict budgeting with irregular income.
The American Rescue Plan made the Child Tax Credit fully refundable in 2021. A refundable credit is beneficial because a taxpayer may receive a tax refund more significant than the actual amount of tax paid. The tax liability can go down below zero, which results in a sizeable cash refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Advance monthly payments were available to eligible taxpayers that qualified for the Child Tax Credit in 2021. From July 2021 to December 2021, eligible taxpayers received $250 or $300 per qualifying child, depending on the child’s age. The primary money retrieval method was a direct deposit. If you haven’t already, open a bank account to take advantage of direct deposit in the future. If you have put off opening a bank account, know that you could open a bank account with bad credit.
If you received advance Child Tax Credit payments in 2021, you should have received Letter 6419 in the mail. This letter details the total amount of advance payments received in 2021. Ensure you keep this letter in your tax records.
How To Claim Dependents and Affect Withholding
If you want to receive a Child Tax Credit (CTC) payment, you need to be a qualifying taxpayer, and the dependent child must meet the tax requirements. Detailed requirements for taxpayers and dependents are below.
How To Qualify for the Child Tax Credit as a Taxpayer
As a taxpayer, you probably qualify for the Child Tax Credit if you meet the income qualifications and have children or stepchildren. Only one person can claim the Child Tax Credit. Discuss which married or custodial parent will claim the Child Tax Credit.
In addition to children and stepchildren, you may be able to claim additional relatives if you paid more than half of their financial support. Claim these relatives as dependents if they meet the tax requirements:
- Foster children
- Adopted children
How To Qualify for the Child Tax Credit as a Dependent
To be eligible for the Child Tax Credit (CTC), children must meet the age, dependency, residency, and citizenship requirements outlined below.
- Must be under 17 years of age
- Must not have provided over half of their own support throughout the year
- Must have lived more than half of the tax year with the taxpayer claiming a CTC
- Must identify as a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien
How Much Do You Qualify To Receive in Child Tax Credit Payments?
When you complete the W-4 Form for 2022, you can learn how much you qualify to receive in Child Tax Credit payments by completing step three.
Eligible taxpayers that can claim dependents must make less than $200,000 if filing single and less than $400,000 if they are married and filing jointly. If you meet these requirements, you can proceed with step three of the W-4 Form to claim dependents.
The W-4 Form asks you to multiply the number of qualifying dependents under the age of seventeen by $2,000. Then multiply the number of other dependents by $500. Add the total and input the number on the appropriate line of your W-4.
What To Expect With the Updated Form W-4
The new W-4 Form for 2022 consists of five steps. Most people do not update their W-4 often, only when they obtain new employment. However, it is essential to update your W-4 Form when you experience specific milestones in life.
Certain events can help you get more IRS money on your tax return, such as getting married or having a baby. On the other hand, you may have to pay more taxes if you get divorced or obtain a second job. Failing to make a tax withholding adjustment can result in a tax bill.
Most taxpayers only need to complete steps one and five. However, certain financial situations require additional information. If you work a second job or have dependents, you will need to complete more steps.
Step 1: Personal Information
The first step of the W-4 requires your identification information. You need to provide your full legal name, address, city, state, zip code, Social Security Number, and filing status. There are five possible filing statuses.
- Married Filing Separately
- Married Filing Jointly
- Qualifying Widow(er)
- Head of Household
Step 2: Multiple Jobs or Spouse Works
Suppose you or your spouse work multiple jobs. In that case, you will need to provide income information to get the correct withholding amount. There are various ways to calculate withholding.
- You can use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator.
- Use the Multiple Jobs Worksheet.
- Check the box under step 2(c) if there are only two jobs with similar income amounts.
Choose the method that is most convenient for you.
Step 3: Claim Dependents
Step three of the W-4 was the allowances section prior to 2020. If you qualify to claim dependents, you can calculate the number of children or dependents you have.
Step 4: Other Adjustments
This portion of the W-4 is meant for people that want more or less money withheld from their paychecks. Some people choose to get less withheld each pay period to get more spending cash in their hands.
There may be times when you need $100 dollars now and not months from now. Most people want extra income during the holiday season. While you could get a quick cash loan for the holidays, you can use your additional income from paychecks on gifts instead.
4(a) — Other Income
This portion is for other income that is not derived from jobs. The W-4 Form lists interest, dividends, and retirement income as qualifying additional income.
4(b) — Deductions
This portion of the W-4 is for deductions. There are two types of deductions: itemized and standard. If the standard deduction is lower than your itemized deductions, it’s in your best interest to itemize to save money.
If you want to itemize deductions and reduce your withholding amount, you must use the Deductions Worksheet. The Deductions Worksheet will ask you to enter an estimate of your 2022 itemized deductions found on Form 1040. Subtract your itemized deductions by the standard deduction based on your filing status. If your itemized deductions are more than the standard, you can input the difference on line 4(b) on the W-4.
4(c) — Extra Withholding
If you want additional tax withheld each pay period, you can indicate that on line 4(c). Some taxpayers choose to have more money withheld to get a more significant tax return or reduce the amount of money they may owe.
Step 5: Signing
The final step of the W-4 is signing. Go ahead and sign your name and fill in the date you completed the Form.
How To Correct Information on W-4
There have been many changes to the W-4, so it’s understandable to make mistakes. If you notice an error on the W-4, it’s best to correct the error as soon as you are able to avoid refund delays.
Suppose you owe money and the Internal Revenue Service detects your mistake. In that case, you may get audited and charged a penalty fee. If the IRS owes you money, you may be missing out on much-needed income. Contact the Internal Revenue Service by phone at 800-829-1040 to make a correction. Customer service agents are available Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.
How Can I Get More Money if Withholding Is High?
When federal income tax is too high, you receive less money in each paycheck. High taxes are problematic if you would benefit more from a higher monthly income than a sizable tax return. Consider applying for online no credit check loans if you need money now.
Most people with a low credit score think they are ineligible for affordable financing options. But you could qualify for loans that do not require credit checks! These types of installment loans have flexible qualification requirements and a fast approval process.