IRS Early Release of Draft W-4 Form and Instructions for 2019

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No Action Needed by Employers

In the beginning of June 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a draft 2019 Form W-4 along with draft Instructions. When opening the drafts, the IRS clearly details on the introductory pages that the draft form and instructions are not for use but rather for informational purposes only and provided by the agency as a courtesy. Employers are instructed to not file draft forms nor rely on draft forms, instructions, and publications for filing. View the draft form and the draft instructions.

Generally, the IRS does not release drafts forms or instructions until it has incorporated all changes and future changes will be relatively minor. But in this case, the agency warns it is likely that the draft form and instructions will change significantly before being released as final. Subsequently, the IRS will post new drafts this summer. The IRS also cautions that early release drafts (all located here) may remain on the agency’s draft tax forms website even after the final version is released and posted (all located here).

I Get it . . . But I Still Want to Know What’s Up with the Drafts

Although the IRS has made it clear that the draft is what it is – a draft – you still want to know what’s new since the landscape of payroll has been shifting under the administration’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA, a.k.a. Tax Reform).  Not to worry; here are some changes that are notable in the draft 2019 Form W-4:

  • Size (from half a page to an entire page).
  • Elimination of total number of allowances (formerly line 5).
  • Marital status check box added (head of household).
  • New Line 5 (additions to income rather than total number of allowance).
  • New Line 6 (itemized and other deductions rather than additional amount to withhold from paycheck).
  • New Line 7 (tax credits rather than exemptions).
  • New Line 8 (additional household income due to multiple jobs rather than signature).

The draft instructions go line by line through the draft form and provide specific guidance for employer and employee use.

What Now?

Similar to the IRS’s disclaimer, this blog post is for informational purposes only. However, if you’re like us and are curious about the differences, then view the 2018 Form W-4 here to compare and contrast it with the draft. In the meantime, we are tracking the issue and will provide all additional information as released.

About Samantha Yurman, JD

Samantha Yurman is one of ThinkHR’s legal editors. She is a licensed attorney in California and Florida with over 16 years of experience researching and analyzing human resources legislation and law. Samantha uses her expertise to translate highly technical legal topics into usable information for our clients.

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