Checking Workers’ Withholding

Employees may be able to pay less tax throughout the year if forms are corrected.

The average tax refund last year was $1,066. A person receiving this amount could have received an extra $20.50 each week throughout the year instead. How? By reducing withheld taxes to more closely match their actual tax.

Tip. Church employees who receive large tax refunds should be encouraged to provide the church treasurer with a new Form W-4 (withholding allowance certificate). Often, large refunds are caused by the use of old W-4 forms that fail to take into account new information (such as additional dependents). You can order new W-4 forms, along with IRS Publication 919 (“Is My Withholding Correct?”) by calling the IRS toll-free number, 1-800-829-3676.

Tip. Many church members end up receiving large tax refunds because the information reported on their W-4 form is no longer accurate. Church treasurers may want to print the following brief notice in the church bulletin or newsletter: “Did you receive a tax refund this year? If so, this may indicate that the information on the W-4 form you submitted to your employer is either inaccurate or obsolete. You may want to provide your employer with an updated W-4. This can result in less taxes being withheld from your pay throughout the year.”

This article originally appeared in Church Treasurer Alert, June 1995.

Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations." Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

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