How to Fill Out a W-4 Personal Allowances Worksheet

by Bonnie Conrad ; Updated July 27, 2017
You can make changes to your W-4 later if necessary.

When you work for an employer, that company is responsible for withholding the appropriate amount of taxes from your paycheck and sending the money to the IRS. When you are hired, the company should give you a W-4 form to complete. This form allows you to claim the appropriate number of exemptions, which in turn changes the amount withheld from your paycheck. Filling out this form properly helps ensure that neither too little nor too much is withheld for taxes.

Step 1

Enter your first name and middle initial in the first block, then your last name in the second block. Enter your full mailing address, including city, state and ZIP code, in the remaining blocks of section 1.

Step 2

Enter your Social Security number in section 2. Double-check your Social Security number for accuracy.

Step 3

Check the appropriate box for your marital status in section 3. Check the box in section 4 only if your last name is different than what is shown on your Social Security card.

Step 4

Enter the number of exemptions you want to claim in section 5. You are entitled to an exemption for yourself, your spouse if you are married, and any dependents who live with you.

Step 5

Complete section 6 only if you want to have additional money withheld from your paycheck. This can be useful if you do consulting or freelance work on the side and want to reduce the amount of taxes you owe at the end of the year.

Step 6

Fill out section 7 only if you are claiming an exemption from withholding. You can only claim this exemption if you received a refund of all federal income tax you paid, and if you expect a refund of all income taxes for the coming year.

Step 7

Sign and date your form. Make a copy for your records and give the original to your human resources representative.


  • Consider omitting the exemption for your spouse if that spouse works. Claiming a working spouse could mean too little is withheld from your paycheck, and you will owe taxes at the end of the year.

    Consider not claiming yourself as an exemption if you hold more than one job.


About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Bonnie Conrad has been working as a professional freelance writer since 2003. Her work can be seen on Credit Factor, Constant Content and a number of other websites. Conrad also works full-time as a computer technician and loves to write about a number of technician topics. She studied computer technology and business administration at Harrisburg Area Community College.

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