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Go ahead and claim the extra 2 allowances. The certification isn't that the number of withholding allowances is correct, but that the amount of withholding is correct within the leeway provided before you incur penalties for underpayment.

The difficulty arises because the W-4 uses shortcuts to approximate the amount of withholding required. Rather than have you accurately calculate your projected taxable income, you adjust your salary income by arbitrary units, known as withholding allowances, where each withholding allowance is worth $3000. For each additional $3000 of income you subtract one allowance and for each additional $3000 of deductions you add one allowance.

You can claim as many allowances as you need to accurately reflect your personal tax circumstances. For instance, it is not unusual for someone with a large mortgage and high real estate and state income taxes, medical expenses and charitable contributions to claim 4, 5, 6 or more additional allowances above the number of exemptions they will claim on their 1040. It is also common for people to claim negative allowances when they have significant non-salary taxable income and they don't wish to file and pay estimated taxes.

If you haven't already done so, you should at least look at the worksheet on page 2 of the W-4 to see if it applies to you. (Sometimes employers don't provide page 2. You can find the full W-4 at if you need it.)

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