If your tax refund (or bill) wasn’t quite what you expected, the problem could be that you claimed the wrong number of allowances on your W-4.
Tax expert and CPA Kasey Pittman offers some guidelines on claiming the right number. It’s a five-minute fix that can make next April much happier.
If you don’t itemize your deductions, and your only income is from your job, claiming the actual number of dependents you’ll put on your tax return should give you a tax bill close to zero.
But if your spouse also works, don’t claim your spouse and both claim your kids; share the total household allowances so you don’t over- or under-pay.
If you want the government to take more from each paycheck (because you’d like a refund, or to offset other income), claim fewer allowances (zeroing out the personal exemption in Line A, for example). If you want to withhold less (because you’re going to reduce your tax burden by itemizing your deductions), claim more of the allowances you’re eligible for.