Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 0
The W-4 is signed under penalty of perjury, and a fraudulent W-4 is subject to a separate $500 penalty, which the IRS can and does impose.

If an employee claims more than a certain number of withholding allowances (I can never remember whether it's 10 or 15--it's in Publication 15), the employer must send a copy of the W-4 to the IRS. The IRS can require the employee to substantiate the number of allowances claimed and can require the employer to withhold at the single rate with zero allowances if it's not satisfied with the employee's response.

Hi Phil,

I think there was a discussion about this issue a while back (probably many such discussions). Two points come to mind about this issue:

1) If I recall correctly, the statement made under penalty of perjury is that you are "entitled" to the number of allowances claimed. One question (raised in the earlier discussions) is whether you are "entitled" to only withhold enough to be in the safe harbor or not.

2) An additional layer of ambiguity may be added if you instruct your employer to withhold a set amount rather than adjust your allowances. Arguably you do not violate the statement that you have not claimed more allowances that you are entitled to since you have not claimed any allowances.

I am not encouraging anyone to do this, and my recollection of the earlier discussion(s) is that neither approach was viewed as the better interpretation of the statement in question. However, it might be enough to avoid a perjury charge.

Phil, are you aware of any specific guidance on these points?

Thanks in advance
Print the post  


In accordance with IRS Circular 230, you cannot use the contents of any post on The Motley Fool's message boards to avoid tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or applicable state or local tax law provisions.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.