What allowances do I claim now that I am back working after time as a college student and in the military?

by Gregory Paulding, CPA | Jan 21, 2019

I am applying for a job, and I have not worked for a few years because of military service and college. I am being asked to give my allowances and withholding, and I cannot find the correct numbers to put in for this. I know the concept of allowances and withholding, but I cannot find the values for me. I used the withholding calculator on the IRS’s website and it wasn't much help. What should I do?

To provide a more accurate answer, I would need more information on your personal circumstances. Your question provides little in that regard. However, you may simply use Married with zero allowances if you are married or Single with zero allowances if you are single as a starting place. You may change your Form W-4 as frequently as your payroll office will allow you to. The lower the number of allowances, the more tax is withheld, and vice versa. A tax consultant in your area that provides payroll services can help you refine your choice to better match your particular circumstances.
For more resources, check out PICPA’s Money & Life Tips, Ask a CPA, or CPA Locator.

Answered by: Gregory Paulding, CPA, is president of Paulding & Associates PC in Erie, Pa.

The responses are based on the limited information provided by the questioner and apply the laws and regulations at the time of posting. Other options could arise as rules and regulations may change over time, including but not limited to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. They are intended to provide general information, not specific accounting or tax advice; they are not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding or evading taxes or penalties under the IRS code or regulations. Views expressed do not imply an opinion of the PICPA, its officers, directors, employees, or members.
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