Why Do I Owe Taxes if I Claim 0 on my W4? | Hall Accounting Company (2024)

When you start working for an employer, they need to calculate the appropriate federal income tax withholding from your paycheck. For this, you need to fill a W4 form, including your exemptions and allowances. You may ask yourself, "do I claim 0 or 1 on my W4?" In theory, the fewer allowances you claim, the less money you owe the IRS.

Sometimes, though, you may claim 0 allowances on your W4 but still owe taxes. Here, we will talk about why you owe taxes despite claiming 0 on the form.

What is a W-4 Form?

An IRS W-4 tax form is a form an employer uses to determine how much federal income taxes they need to withhold from an employee's paycheck. This form includes the number of allowances and personal exemptions you will receive on your payday. You need to fill this form the day you join a company.

Your employer uses this W4 form until you fill a new one. You often need to fill a new W4 when your financial position changes. This form is important because it tells the accountant of the company how much your paycheck adds up to.

If you claim more allowances, your employer withholds a smaller amount from your paycheck. You then receive more money. However, this also means that you will not get a refund, and you may even owe some money to the IRS. Claiming few or no allowances means you will be eligible for a refund.

You can either hire a CPA to handle your taxes or do them yourself. Either way, knowledge of how a W4 form works is necessary.

Why Do I Owe Taxes if I Claim 0 on my W4? | Hall Accounting Company (1)

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How Many Allowances Should You Claim?

The number of allowances you should claim depends on some personal circ*mstances. This includes relationship status, children, and how long you have been at a job.

The best idea is to find a balance. You should not claim too many allowances, or you might end up having to pay the IRS. Claiming 0 allowances means that too much money will be withheld by the IRS.

The allowances you can claim vary from situation to situation. If you are married with a kid, you can claim up to three allowances. If you want a higher tax return, you can claim 0 allowances. If you are married and have two kids, you can claim three or more allowances.

If you are single, you can claim 1 allowance. If you have one job, you can request 2 allowances. If you are single with a kid, you can claim 2 allowances. However, you should always be cautious of the tax return.

With 2 kids, when you are single, you can claim 2 allowances. For more than two kids, you can claim an additional allowance for each kid.

A married couple with no children can claim 1 allowance each. You should note that if someone else mentions you as a dependent, you will not get any allowances.

In the case of children, you can claim up to $1,000 per child tax credit provided that they are under 16.

Why Do I Owe Taxes If I Claim 0?

If you claimed 0 and still owe taxes, chances are you added “married” to your W4 form. When you claim 0 in allowances, it seems as if you are the only one who earns and that your spouse does not. Then, when both of you earn, and the amount reaches the 25% tax bracket, the amount of tax sent is not enough. You will hence need to pay the IRS some money.

The amount of income you and your spouse earn combined goes too close to the standard deduction, which does not contribute to under-withholding. With two W2s, a doubling of the tax bracket occurs, resulting in insufficient tax credits when claiming 0 allowances.

Another thing that can lead to you owing taxes is if there is a huge disparity in income.

Why Do I Owe Taxes if I Claim 0 on my W4? | Hall Accounting Company (2)

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How to Fix This Problem

One thing you can do if you owe taxes after claiming 0 is to set your status to single. You can also request additional withholding on your W4. To do this, use M-0, M-0 on Line 6, or use this tool.

You and your spouse can also use Single withholding tables. For this, check the “Married but withhold at higher Single tax rate.” Then, there is a chance you can utilize S-2, S-2. This way, instead of the married tax bracket, the IRS will see your withholding tax using the Single bracket. This is half the amount of the married bracket.

To ensure that you will not owe taxes, divided next year’s income by this year’s income. Multiply the amount by the tax rate. Divide this number by the number of paydays remaining in the year. Enter the amount you get in Line 6 of the form.

Should I Claim 0 or 1 if I am Married?

As mentioned above, claiming 0 when you are married may result in your combined income reaching the tax bracket. You will then owe some taxes. A good option, therefore, is to claim 0 with an additional amount withheld.

You can also claim single and 1 allowance or single and 0 allowances to make up for this amount.

Why Do I Owe Taxes if I Claim 0 on my W4? | Hall Accounting Company (2024)
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