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rated:
Hi folks,

For a married couple with a single income, I would like to know what is the difference when we 

  1. W4 is being filled as single.
  2. W4 is being filled as Married, with 0 allowances. 

Do both (1) and (2) withhold the same amount from the paycheck? or (2) by default, results in less amount being withheld (even with 0 allowances) ? Is there any tool that I can use to give me approximate calculations ? please let me know. 

Thanks.

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rated:
No, getting married is not the same as adding one allowance. The tax brackets are different, and selecting "married" will result in fewer taxes withheld. Depending on your income, there might be a scenario where single with 1 allowance is the same as married with 0 allowances, but I'm not totally sure.

One allowance on the W-4 reduces your taxable income by the amount of the standard personal exemption ($4050 for FY 2016). At least that's what it does if you select "single" or "married, but withhold at higher single rate".

For married couple with a single income the W-4 form has pretty clear instructions on the first page. I believe you should end up with 1 in fields A, B, and C, so if you don't have kids or other dependents, you'd have 3 allowances. It'll probably be close enough if you don't itemize. If you itemize, you can calculate your extra allowances (in addition to 2 or 3 on page 1) by subtracting the standard deduction from itemized deductions, then dividing the result by the personal exemption (4050). This calculation is on page 2.

IRS has a withholding calculator

rated:
Single and Married both have separate withholding calculations. Single with 0 will withhold the most (however there should be an option that says something to the affect of; married however withhold at the higher single rate. There are many free calculators online search for something like "paycheck calculator" or "withholding calculator".

rated:
If your income is fairly steady through the year, just go to the withholding tables (about forty pages down) in Publication 15, look for the annual payroll table, and calculate your withholding based on your expected Box 1 W2 income.

rated:
I just did this. For me, with my existing w-4 3 months out and planning to marry this year, if I were to fill out the w4 as married, I should claim 2 allowances, as single, claim 4.

The info isn't in an easy to digest format. I wound up grabbing my estimated federal taxes from the irs calculator online as if I was married, deducted taxes already paid, and backed into the allowance choice by calculating the single allowance values from irs publication 15a

rated:
scrouds said:   I just did this. For me, with my existing w-4 3 months out and planning to marry this year, if I were to fill out the w4 as married, I should claim 2 allowances, as single, claim 4.

The info isn't in an easy to digest format. I wound up grabbing my estimated federal taxes from the irs calculator online as if I was married, deducted taxes already paid, and backed into the allowance choice by calculating the single allowance values from irs publication 15a

  In my opinion, the best way to do it (not sure if this is how you did it), but is to do as taxmantoo said. Calculate the total amount you need to pay in for the year based on safe harbors, estimates of tax for the current year, etc., divide that by your # of paychecks/year, go to the employer's withholding tables and find out how many allowances to claim so that just over that amount is withheld each pay period.

rated:
marginoferror said:   scrouds said:   I just did this. For me, with my existing w-4 3 months out and planning to marry this year, if I were to fill out the w4 as married, I should claim 2 allowances, as single, claim 4.

The info isn't in an easy to digest format. I wound up grabbing my estimated federal taxes from the irs calculator online as if I was married, deducted taxes already paid, and backed into the allowance choice by calculating the single allowance values from irs publication 15a

  In my opinion, the best way to do it (not sure if this is how you did it), but is to do as taxmantoo said. Calculate the total amount you need to pay in for the year based on safe harbors, estimates of tax for the current year, etc., divide that by your # of paychecks/year, go to the employer's withholding tables and find out how many allowances to claim so that just over that amount is withheld each pay period.


I don't know if I did it the best way, but I have a decent answer for myself and I'm happy.

One question that came up is that I'm getting married before the end of the year but it seems, under penalty of perjury, I couldn't select married until I'm married.

Doesn't help that I'm getting married and changing jobs in the same year.

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