Employers generally withhold federal income tax, social security tax, and Medicare tax from an employee's wages. If the employee claims exemption from withholding on Form W-4, the employer will not withhold federal income tax. The exemption from withholding does not apply to social security and Medicare taxes. taxmap/pubs/p929-006.htm#en_us_publink100026076
An employee can claim exemption from withholding for 2009 only if he or she meets both of the following conditions.
- For 2008, the employee had a right to a refund of all federal income tax withheld because he or she had no tax liability.
- For 2009, the employee expects a refund of all federal income tax withheld because he or she expects to have no tax liability.
An employee who is a dependent ordinarily cannot claim exemption from withholding if both of the following are true.
- The employee's total income will be more than the minimum standard deduction amount. This amount was $900 for 2008, but may be higher for 2009. Check the instructions for the 2009 Form W-4 for the correct amount.
- The employee's unearned income will be more than $300.
An employee who is age 65 or older or blind, or who will claim adjustments to income, itemized deductions, an additional standard deduction for real estate taxes or a net disaster loss, or tax credits on his or her 2009 tax return, may be able to claim exemption from withholding even if the employee is a dependent. For more information, see the discussions under Exemption From Withholding in chapter 1 of Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. taxmap/pubs/p929-006.htm#en_us_publink100026079
Guy is 17 and a student. During the summer he works part time at a grocery store. He expects to earn about $1,000 this year. He also worked at the store last summer and received a refund of all his withheld income tax because he did not have a tax liability. The only other income he expects during the year is $375 interest on a savings account. He expects that his parents will be able to claim him as a dependent on their tax return. He is not blind and will not claim adjustments to income, itemized deductions, an additional standard deduction, or tax credits on his return.
Guy cannot claim exemption from withholding when he fills out Form W-4 because his parents will be able to claim him as a dependent, his total income will be more than $900, the minimum standard deduction amount, and his unearned income will be more than $300.taxmap/pubs/p929-006.htm#en_us_publink100026080
To claim exemption from withholding, an employee must enter "Exempt" in the space provided on Form W-4, line 7. The employee must complete the rest of the form, as explained in the form instructions, and give it to his or her employer. taxmap/pubs/p929-006.htm#en_us_publink100026081
An exemption from withholding is good for only one year. An employee must file a new Form W-4 by February 15 each year to continue the exemption.