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Question on W-4 processing.

Our department recently took a W-4 webinar and in that webinar it was communicated to us that a W-4 form that has information crossed out, corrected and initialed is still an invalid form. To me that seems a bit extreme.

How many departments out there follow this?

Thank you,


  • That sounds technically correct, although I am not sure I would be that hardball.

  • If it's correcting their own entries, I would accept initialed corrections. I would reject it only if they crossed out any of the wording on the form itself, such as the perjury statement.

  • With the current "common" assumption of everything is a third party's fault, I would ask for a form with no corrections, and continue to use the last valid form (or single 0) until received. I too can say a third party is at fault (the dreaded IRS)...

  • A clean form with no corrections is certainly what a strict reading of the rules say. On the other hand I am an old fart who has gone through a bunch of IRS audits with some pretty big companies and IRS have NEVER asked to see W-4 forms, and I have worked for companies where we had employees in 40+states and trying to explain technical problems to some sales person in the field while he his driving to his next customer gets old quickly. I have been a manager level employee since the early 80s and prioritizing issues is one of your duties.

    What is easy to do in small office can be difficult at a large disbursed environment. I worked for a Fortune 500 company for a while and in the 1990s we audited all of forms, including W-4s. Problem solved.

  • My philosophy is part of my answer when an employee inquires about their withholding. I produce a copy of the last W4, and provide a link to the current Pub 15 (and state booklet). I will not be drawn into teaching employees payroll processing, nor offer them tax advice.

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