Employee News

Changes to W-4 Form May Require Employee Action

As a result of 2018 federal tax law changes, the 2020 Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate has changed significantly from previous versions. As a result, MCPS employees are strongly encouraged to review their tax withholding to determine if an adjustment is needed.

Current employees are not required to complete the revised form given that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has designed the withholding tables so they will work with both the new and prior year forms. However, certain employees will be required to use the new form: those hired in 2020 and those who make withholding changes during 2020.

Even though the IRS does not require all employees to complete the revised form and even if your tax situation has not changed, you are advised to perform a “paycheck checkup” to see if you need to make adjustments to your current withholding. To conduct the checkup, you can use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator. To effectively use the estimator, it is helpful to have a copy of your most recent ePaystub and tax return.

If you decide to complete a new W-4, you may do so by accessing the “My W-4” link under the blue “My Taxes” section on the Employee Self-Service (ESS) webpage. Upon logon, select the “Federal Withholding Taxes” option to access the new form.  You must complete Steps 1 and 5 on the form. Steps 2, 3, and 4 are optional, but completing them will help ensure that your federal income tax withholding will more accurately match your tax liability. Steps to complete the new W-4 include—

Step 1—for your personal information;

Step 2—for households with multiple jobs;

Step 3—to claim tax credits for dependents;

Step 4—for other adjustments (additional income such as interest and dividends, itemized deductions that exceed the standard deduction, and extra tax you want withheld); and  

Step 5—Click the “Continue” button, confirm the information and submit changes.

The IRS suggests that, if you are concerned about reporting income from multiple jobs in Step 2 or other income in Step 4(a), you either check the box in Step 2(c) or enter an additional withholding amount in Step 4(c). To determine the additional withholding amount, you can use the withholding estimator.  

The IRS has also published Frequently Asked Questions that you may find helpful as you complete the 2020 W-4 form. If you do not submit a new W-4, withholding will continue based on your previously submitted form.