How to Claim Dependents on a W-4. The W-4 form that you file with your employer is what determines the amount of withholding on your paycheck. On the form, there is a space to claim dependents. The dependents you claim on your W-4 are for yourself, your spouse and your children. Each dependent is an allowance on the form. The wrong number of allowances will cause more or less federal withholdings.
Count the number of dependents that you legally have in your household. Normally this would be you, your wife, and/or your children. Dependents can also be persons that you provide more than half of their care because they were disabled. Children are dependents up to the age of 18, or if they are attending school, up to the age of 24.
Examine the back of the W-4 form and go through the worksheet. If you fill out the worksheet and find that you should be claiming more allowances, then you will claim each of the people in your household as a dependent. This will withhold a smaller amount from your paycheck as income tax, thus reducing the amount of money you would get back as a refund at the end of the year.
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Decide if you want a larger amount withheld from your paycheck throughout the year so that you will get a big refund check when you file taxes, then you will claim fewer dependents on your W-4. Although there is nothing legally wrong with that, there are many other alternatives to utilize the extra money from your paycheck over the year that would be more productive. Even placing the extra money received from filing with the correct number of dependents into an interest bearing savings account will be a better choice. Extra money given to the government from your paycheck doesn't earn interest if it was more than you owed.