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New 2020 Federal Form W-4

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released a revised federal Form W-4 for this tax year (2020). You may view the new form here. Please note that this form is significantly different than the current form.

The IRS has provided the following guidance:

Please Note: Northwestern cannot provide individual guidance on completion of the new W-4 form or any related tax implications.  We recommend that you contact your tax consultant with any questions. 

Common 2020 W-4 Questions

Will I need to submit a new W-4?

If you were hired before January 1, 2020, the IRS does not require that you submit a new form.  Your withholding will continue based on your previously-submitted W-4.

However, if you wish to change your withholding, you will need to use the new form to do so.

Which form should new employees use?

All new employees hired on or after January 1, 2020, are required to use the new form.

What happens if I don't submit a 2020 form?

  • If you are a current employee with a valid W-4 already on file, your withholding will continue based on your previously-submitted form.
  • If you are a new employee and you do not submit a valid Form W-4, taxes will be withheld as if you are a single filer with no adjustments (per IRS regulations).

Do these changes affect my state tax withholding?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act does not directly affect state tax withholding, though state tax laws and forms may change from time to time.

At this time, the State of Illinois has not announced any changes to the current Illinois withholding form, the IL-W-4.

If you have income tax withheld for another state, we always recommend referring to that state's appropriate governmental resources for the most up-to-date state withholding instructions and forms.

I have more questions. Where can I get some help?

Northwestern is not able to provide individual guidance on completion of the new W-4 or any related tax implications.

The IRS has made the following resources available:

For additional assistance, we recommend that you contact a tax professional.