New W-4 form and Employee Express

GMX

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So that I don't end up owing taxes or give the government a free loan with my money I do the IRS withholding calculator several times a year. I enter updated info each time to obtain the correct number of exemptions to withhold and then update that on Employee Express when it changes. I've been doing this for over 15 years, usually 4-6 times per year and have never owed, and any refund I get is pretty small.

Well, due to new laws the IRS has changed the whole format of the W-4 and their entire online calculator/estimator. At the end they used to tell you how many exemptions to claim and whether or not to withhold an extra dollar amount each check to get your liability as close to $0 as possible. Now they have some slider that lets you adjust how much or how little you want to be refunded. Along with that they tell you the exact dollar amount that needs to be taken out of each check to reach whatever goal you selected on the slider, plus another specific dollar amount to enter for credits or other reductions. There is no longer any mention of how many exemptions or allowances to take.

The problem for us is that our method to adjust the W-4 is done on the Employee Express website, where there is no way to enter these specific dollar amounts the IRS calculator comes up with; it's still straight up "number of exemptions" and "additional deductions each pay period". Employee Express links to the IRS site which gives you the new calculator and advises you to call your payroll office for specific payroll questions.

I called the Dept. of Interior number on my LES and she said it was all the same still, the IRS just uses new terminology for the word "exemptions" so just enter the correct number of exemptions on Employee Express! I tried to explain that according to the IRS those exemptions aren't a thing anymore and the calculator doesn't provide a figure to use on the Employee Express site. I asked if payroll would be making Employee Express update the online form to use the new method with whatever new information the IRS provides and she says no and that I need to call the IRS!

This is so frustrating and I wanted to give a heads up to everyone else if they adjust their W-4 regularly. I guess we're just going to have to guess for exemptions and try our best to readjust as the months go by. If anyone has any insight or experience with this let us know!
 

HalfPR

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Hell, my wife's work had her fill out the new W-4 last month just because it is a new version. I'm just entering the academy and was surprised to see the old version on the EODS a week or so ago.
 

Phillyman2633

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So last year was the first year that I've ever ended up owing the IRS in my life. I've always gotten a refund, no matter how small. Last year when tax time rolled around I ended up owing like $2000 with my wife. In an attempt to get that number as close to 0 as possible, I changed my "Allowances" in Employee Express to 0.

I just started inputting my information into TurboTax the other day and it's telling me that I owe the IRS over $11k this year. I went into my W2 and did the math, divided my Federal Income Tax withheld by total wages and paid something like 14% this year, compared to 18% last year.

I have no idea how the fuck I underpaid by that much, especially when my allowances are set at 0. Why should I have to be keeping an eye on my paycheck and creating an additional withholding on Employee Express to ensure that the correct taxes are being taken out? Doesnt that seem like something Payroll should be doing?

Anyone else get hit with a bomb this year? Idk if it's tied to the new W4 procedures but I cant imagine any other reason.
 
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So last year was the first year that I've ever ended up owing the IRS in my life. I've always gotten a refund, no matter how small. Last year when tax time rolled around I ended up owing like $2000 with my wife. In an attempt to get that number as close to 0 as possible, I changed my "Allowances" in Employee Express to 0.

I just started inputting my information into TurboTax the other day and it's telling me that I owe the IRS over $11k this year. I went into my W2 and did the math, divided my Federal Income Tax withheld by total wages and paid something like 14% this year, compared to 18% last year.

I have no idea how the fuck I underpaid by that much, especially when my allowances are set at 0. Why should I have to be keeping an eye on my paycheck and creating an additional withholding on Employee Express to ensure that the correct taxes are being taken out? Doesnt that seem like something Payroll should be doing?

Anyone else get hit with a bomb this year? Idk if it's tied to the new W4 procedures but I cant imagine any other reason.
Yeah, we owe 10k this year. Fucking ridiculous.
 

#1349

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That’s wild man. $11,000 while also having 0 dependents? I would think the Federal Government would pull as much as possible, which should leave nothing to be owed.

But then again, I don’t math good.
I’ll offer you fine folks super lo interest loans to help you during tax season ❤
 

TimShady

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That’s pretty insane. Did you guys try putting in just your info without your wives’? My guess is you’d be getting a refund. The withholding process doesn’t take into account having a spouse who earns an income, which is essentially added on top of yours and is taxed at your highest bracket. My wife hasn’t worked since the new tax law but it used to be I had to withhold an additional $100 a check an claim “0” to try to break even. It sounds like they may have over corrected in an attempt to give people as much take home pay as possible when they redid the withholding tables which made things even worse for high earning two income households.
 

Mike Kilo

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Ouch. We had to pay in two years ago which was a shock to us. First time I used the meal deduction crap just to drop what we owed to $700 instead of $2500.

After that my wife and I changed our tax crap to “married but withholding at single rate” and I think my wife even payed an extra $100 a check just to make sure we never owe. I don’t like them having my money to play with but it sure beats owing. We got 6k back this year lol.
 

FightingIrish2012

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Messages
625
Ouch. We had to pay in two years ago which was a shock to us. First time I used the meal deduction crap just to drop what we owed to $700 instead of $2500.

After that my wife and I changed our tax crap to “married but withholding at single rate” and I think my wife even payed an extra $100 a check just to make sure we never owe. I don’t like them having my money to play with but it sure beats owing. We got 6k back this year lol.
It specifically states that air traffic does not apply for the meal deduction thing, I hope you get audited and have to pay all that back with interest.
 

penaltyvectors

Active Member
Messages
46
So that I don't end up owing taxes or give the government a free loan with my money I do the IRS withholding calculator several times a year. I enter updated info each time to obtain the correct number of exemptions to withhold and then update that on Employee Express when it changes. I've been doing this for over 15 years, usually 4-6 times per year and have never owed, and any refund I get is pretty small.

Well, due to new laws the IRS has changed the whole format of the W-4 and their entire online calculator/estimator. At the end they used to tell you how many exemptions to claim and whether or not to withhold an extra dollar amount each check to get your liability as close to $0 as possible. Now they have some slider that lets you adjust how much or how little you want to be refunded. Along with that they tell you the exact dollar amount that needs to be taken out of each check to reach whatever goal you selected on the slider, plus another specific dollar amount to enter for credits or other reductions. There is no longer any mention of how many exemptions or allowances to take.

The problem for us is that our method to adjust the W-4 is done on the Employee Express website, where there is no way to enter these specific dollar amounts the IRS calculator comes up with; it's still straight up "number of exemptions" and "additional deductions each pay period". Employee Express links to the IRS site which gives you the new calculator and advises you to call your payroll office for specific payroll questions.

I called the Dept. of Interior number on my LES and she said it was all the same still, the IRS just uses new terminology for the word "exemptions" so just enter the correct number of exemptions on Employee Express! I tried to explain that according to the IRS those exemptions aren't a thing anymore and the calculator doesn't provide a figure to use on the Employee Express site. I asked if payroll would be making Employee Express update the online form to use the new method with whatever new information the IRS provides and she says no and that I need to call the IRS!

This is so frustrating and I wanted to give a heads up to everyone else if they adjust their W-4 regularly. I guess we're just going to have to guess for exemptions and try our best to readjust as the months go by. If anyone has any insight or experience with this let us know!
I've been wondering about this as well. Basically they've gotten rid of the concept of withholding allowances which theoretically makes it more accurate for people with multiple jobs, kids, or dual-income families. IRS guidance says existing employees don't have to fill out a new W-4, but it also says that if an employee wants to modify his withholding they're required to use the new form and system. Have you actually tried changing your number of exemptions in employee express? Theoretically, it'd be both illegal and impossible for HR to successfully process this change since exemptions no longer exist, so it wouldn't surprise me if it kicked back an error on their end and someone from HR contacted you to do it another way. Barring that, I agree that the best way would be to change to 99 exemptions and put in the number in the additional withholding field, since that'd be the only reasonably accurate way of reconciling the outdated exemptions with the new withholding tables.

Ouch. We had to pay in two years ago which was a shock to us. First time I used the meal deduction crap just to drop what we owed to $700 instead of $2500.
I'd be careful talking too loudly about this. If I recall, someone can report you for lying on their taxes and as a reward they get to keep a percentage of whatever the IRS recovers from you. Hope your coworkers all like you.
 
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GMX

Trusted Contributor
Messages
211
I've been wondering about this as well. Basically they've gotten rid of the concept of withholding allowances which theoretically makes it more accurate for people with multiple jobs, kids, or dual-income families. IRS guidance says existing employees don't have to fill out a new W-4, but it also says that if an employee wants to modify his withholding they're required to use the new form and system. Have you actually tried changing your number of exemptions in employee express? Theoretically, it'd be both illegal and impossible for HR to successfully process this change since exemptions no longer exist, so it wouldn't surprise me if it kicked back an error on their end and someone from HR contacted you to do it another way. Barring that, I agree that the best way would be to change to 99 exemptions and put in the number in the additional withholding field, since that'd be the only reasonably accurate way of reconciling the outdated exemptions with the new withholding tables.
For the last 6-7 pay periods of 2019 I had to claim 0 and pull an additional amount out of each check (this was still the old calculator). For PP 2020-01 I moved the exemptions up to 2 and then needed to accumulate a few pay stubs to have some data to enter for my first calculation of 2020 and that's when I ran into this problem. I did just go ahead and move it up to 5, which it let me do no problem, and that's currently a "pending action" which is also normal, for the next period. It will be interesting to see if it actually does reduce the amount of tax being taken out. The 99 exemptions and the exact dollar amount the calculator says seems like a clever workaround but I just want the true functionality of the current system to be there. We'll see if they can actually do anything in the first place. The IRS FAQ says if you like how much your taxes come out then you don't even need to do a new W-4 in 2020, so without doing a new form who knows what a payroll office does? For people who like to stay on top if it and change it, it's all stupid now.
 

GMX

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Messages
211
I got an email back from Employee Express and they are aware of the changes and working on getting it implemented on the website. For now though, they say to just enter exemptions the old way which is what I did but had to guess. Without the old calculator we don't know how many to really pick. I suppose one could hunt down the old paper form and do the worksheet. In any event come on guys get with it and have this shit ready to roll out when the rules go into effect so people can easily control their tax withholding and not get screwed later!
 

GMX

Trusted Contributor
Messages
211
Employee Express has caught up to the new tax laws and now has the new form to adjust your federal withholding. Use the IRS calculator to get your data and then enter it into EE to get your pay right. That was faster than I thought they would update it.
 

AB19

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Messages
264
When doing this how do you account for overtime that you may or may not work? I went up in the payband and get OT now and not sure if the OT goes in the bonus section, and how to accurately guess that either
 

GMX

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211
I don't ever use the bonus, I just do an estimate of how much my total gross yearly salary will be. I start at 80 hours, then figure out my average night, Sunday, CIC, OT, whatever and plug it in. Then I go back every couple months and plug in the newest totals from my LES and do another estimate of what I think I'll make for the rest of the year, then in a couple months do the same, etc. You can start to see if you've been paying too much or too little in taxes and adjust as needed. It takes some diligence and work on the part of the employee.
 
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