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In many cases, you probably don’t even think about it past your first day of work. But then something happens – you get married, start a new job, ordained or licensed, have a baby – and you need to take a closer look. That’s when your mind starts scrambling with questions. Below, you’ll find the top questions we’re asked about W-4 forms.

Can I change my W-4 after starting a new job?

Yes! Usually people change their W-4 forms when a major life change occurs, for example getting married or having a baby. Unlike your insurance and other open enrollment needs, however, you can change your W-4 as often as you’d like.

How many W-4 allowances should I claim?

Short answer: It depends. The amount of allowances you claim on your W-4 is as unique as the individual filling it out. We recommend working with your tax advisor to determine what’s best for your situation.

What happens if I claim fewer allowances?

In general, the fewer allowances you claim, the more federal income tax will be withheld from your paycheck.

What happens if I claim more allowances?

In general, the more allowances you claim, the less federal income tax will be withheld from your paycheck.

Can my church tell me how to fill out my W-4?

Absolutely not! No one understands your financial situation better than you. Again, we recommend discussing your situation with your tax advisor.

Do I have to fill out a new W-4 each year?

Nope! Not unless you want to, or are starting a new job.

Are clergy subject to W-4 withholdings?

Generally, clergy are subject to the estimated payment system and not required to complete a W-4 form. However, if you elect optional withholdings you would be required to complete this form. Caution – W-4 withholdings will only cover your federal and state taxes and does not address SECA withholdings. Again, we recommend discussing optional withholdings with your tax advisor to avoid withholdings errors.

Can clergy following the W-4 worksheet to calculate the correct amount of withholding tax?

The W-4 worksheet is designed for non-clergy employees and should not be used to determine withholdings.

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Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.

This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.

For more information or if you need additional assistance, please use the contact information below.

Clergy Financial Resources
11214 86th Avenue N.
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Tel: (763) 425-8778 
Fax: (888) 876-5101
Email: clientservices@clergyfinancial.com

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