How to Fill Out a W4 When Married but Separated

Update your withholding allowances any time your marital status or dependents change.
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IRS form W-4 illustrates the allowances you claim to reduce your tax withholding from your weekly paycheck. As a married individual, you will see a reduction in the withholding rate of your paycheck. If you choose to separate, you should update your W-4 to reflect your new filing status so that you can avoid the sticker shock of a sizable tax bill at the end of the year.

Step 1

Enter "1" on line A of the W-4 form. If you are considered a dependent for someone else, skip this.

Step 2

Input "1" on line B to indicate one exemption. Mark this line if you have only one job or if the total earned from your second job is equal to or less than $1,500.

Step 3

Leave line C blank. Enter the number of additional dependents you support on line D. For example, if you have custody of any children, place the number of how many you have here.

Step 4

Enter "1" on line E if you have any dependents and will pay more than 50 percent of the support for them in the tax year. Place a "1" on line F if you will spend at least $1,900 for child care that you will claim on this year's return.

Step 5

Enter "2" for each child that you have on line G if you will earn $61,000 or less. If you have three or more children, subtract 1 from the total. If you have eight or more children, subtract 2 from the total.

Step 6

Add all of the numbers you placed in each line and place the total on line H. Fill out your personal information in the next section, including your name, address and Social Security Number. Check the "Single" filing status field. Enter the total allowances from line H in box 5. Add any additional withholding amount if you want excess withholding from your check in box 6.

Step 7

Enter "Exempt" on line 7 if you meet the exemption standards. To be deemed "Exempt," you must have paid no taxes at all in the year prior, and expect to owe no taxes in the current year.

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