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Employer W4 mistake

So my employer didn’t put in the correct number of dependents which was supposed to be 4 nor did they put me down as married. They put 0 on everything so I got taxed almost a thousand dollars my original w4 says 4 dependants and married. Can they pay me or what can I do?


  • David WarrenDavid Warren ✭✭✭✭

    "Can" they refund you the money during the same year? "Yes".
    Are they legally required to. "No".
    Technically you were supposed to be checking your withholding and IRS holds both the employer and the employee equally responsible for this sort of error. Your employer does not have the money any more. IRS does.

    If my company had been at fault and it is the same year (IRS issue here), then I would have cleaned up my mess because that is what I do. Not a legal requirement however.

    Does the employer agree that they received the M-4 W-4? Because S-0 is the legal default. And I have done enough payrolls over the years to have a certain skepticism about unsupported statements made by employees regarding W-4s. My last employer used an automated system where the employee made the data entry themselves and a log was kept of all changes. And we still got dozens of people every year that felt their failure to make changes (or read their paystubs) was our fault.

  • rrupertrrupert ✭✭✭

    how many pay periods has this been happening? they are more likely to help correct it if it was found quickly. Otherwise, like David said, you bear some responsibility. But realize anything over-deducted will be refunded to you at the end of the tax year when you do your personal income taxes if the employer decides not to correct it now.

    Employers are required to hold at Single 0 (Default as David says) for any employee that they don't receive a valid W-4 form for.... are you sure your original W-4 was valid (included all information and a signature and a date)? Did you fill out a paper form or was it electronic? Did you get any kind of verification or keep a copy? Also employers have up to 30 days to process a W-4 so if this was your first paycheck it may be that the system defaults to S0 and your W-4 just didn't get entered in time for the first payroll.

  • David WarrenDavid Warren ✭✭✭✭

    That is why I like automated W-4 systems. They will not accept invalid W-4s, they give the reasons for the problem at the time of data entry and they leave a nice clean log of who does what/when. In my experience employees ALWAYS claim to have done something else when you use paper forms. You always are accused of failing to process some form they sent. Or you are in some states like CA can use the same form for both federal and state. So when you get a W-4 are they trying to change federal? State? Both? Their address? The state they live or work in? If I never see another W-4 it will be too soon. Paper is evil.

    I also hate that 30 day W-4 rule. You have the change or you do not. This "we will do it when we do it" will drive you crazy. You can get 3 W-4s from the same person saying different things within 30 days. With e-systems, the employees make the changes, invalid forms are ID'd up front, and all updates are automated.

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