The IRS has substantially redesigned the Form W-4 to be used beginning in 2020.

New employees first paid wages during 2020 must use the new redesigned Form W-4. In addition, employees who worked for an employer before 2020 but are rehired during 2020 also must use the redesigned 2020 Form W-4.

Continuing employees who provided a Form W-4 before 2020 do not have to furnish the new Form W-4. However, if a continuing employee who wants to adjust his/her withholding must use the redesigned Form.

IRS FAQs for Employers

The IRS has issued the following FAQs for employers about the redesigned 2020 Form W-4:

  • Are all employees required to furnish a new Form W-4?

No, employees who have furnished Form W-4 in any year before 2020 do not have to furnish a new form merely because of the redesign. Employers will continue to compute withholding based on the information from the employee’s most recently furnished Form W-4.

  • Are new employees first paid after 2019 required to use the redesigned form?

Yes, all new employees first paid after 2019 must use the redesigned form. Similarly, any other employee who wishes to adjust their withholding must use the redesigned form.

  • How do I treat new employees first paid after 2019 who do not furnish a Form W-4?

New employees first paid after 2019 who fail to furnish a Form W-4 will be treated as a single filer with no other adjustments. This means that a single filer’s standard deduction with no other entries will be taken into account in determining withholding. This treatment also generally applies to employees who previously worked for you who were rehired in 2020 and did not furnish a new Form W-4.

  • What about employees paid before 2020 who want to adjust withholding from their pay dated January 1, 2020, or later?

Employees must use the redesigned form.

  • May I ask all of my employees paid before 2020 to furnish new Forms W-4 using the redesigned version of the form?

Yes, you may ask, but as part of the request you should explain:

» they do not have to furnish a new Form W-4, and

» if they do not furnish a new Form W-4, withholding will continue based on a valid form previously furnished.

For those employees who furnished forms before 2020 and who do not furnish a new one after 2019, you must continue to withhold based on the forms previously furnished. You may not treat employees as failing to furnish Forms W-4 if they don’t furnish a new Form W-4. Note that special rules apply to Forms W-4 claiming exemption from withholding.

  • Will there still be an adjustment for nonresident aliens?

Yes, the IRS will provide instructions in the 2020 Publication 15-T, Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods, on the additional amounts that should be added to wages to determine withholding for nonresident aliens. And nonresident alien employees should continue to follow the special instructions in Notice 1392 when completing their Forms W-4.

  • When can we start using the new 2020 Form W-4?

The new 2020 Form W-4 can be used with respect to wages to be paid in 2020.

Additional Information

This Publication includes the income tax withholding tables to be used by automated and manual payroll systems beginning in 2020 regarding both (i) Forms W-4 from 2019 or earlier AND (ii) Forms W-4 from 2020 or later.

  • IRS FAQs on the 2020 Form W-4