How to Use a W-4 Calculator

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A W-4 calculator can help you to determine the exemptions you need to claim on your W-4 forms so that you have the correct income tax withheld. Using a few pieces of information you can quickly determine the right amount of exemptions to claim and fill out your next W-4 form.

Gather a recent pay stub and your completed tax forms from the previous tax year. If your status changes because of reasons such as marriage, divorce or if your parents no longer claim you as a dependent, remember that your exemptions may be different from the previous year.

Determine the number of jobs you've held. If you're married and filing jointly you also need to include your spouse's information. Write this information down.

Think about any dependents you have and calculate and dependent care credit you may claim. If you have a flexible spending account for childcare or elder care you should consult a tax accountant or the Internal Revenue Service to determine if you can take a dependent care credit.

Calculate other tax credits you receive. Common tax credits are mortgage interest, education credits, adoption credits and IRA contributions. Each tax situation is different so if you are unsure of your tax credits contact a tax accountant to discuss your personal situation.

Research your current tax withholding amount. You need both the current amount you have withheld per pay check and the amount withheld to date.

Determine if you have any education interest, flexible spending account monies and other income to claim. These items may affect your withholding amount.

Enter all of the compiled information into a W-4 calculator to help you determine how many deductions to claim on your W-4. If you want to update your withholding amount contact the human resources department or other individual responsible for payroll with your employer.

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