What are personal allowances on federal w-4?

This is my first job, and as part of the hiring process, I'm filling out the w-4. I have NO idea what I'm doing, and I don't know what personal allowances are or anything else.

I am single, this is my first (and only) job, and I don't know if I should put 1 or 0 or WHAT?

Also, what does exempt from federal withholding mean? i am so confused...


I am confused on C:

"Enter "1" for your SPOUSE, but you may choose to enter "0" if you are married and have either a working spouse or more than one job."

Update 2:

Who said I was 14 and a dependent? I am 21 and the only reason I haven't had a job yet is because my mother was dependent on ME for a few years, and then I went to school. Now I am no longer in school, but that is irrelevant, because that was last year.

Update 3:

And I'm only filling out federal, and I live in Washington state

5 Answers

  • M
    Lv 6
    6 years ago


    What state?

    Exempt means NO federal income tax and/or state income taxes will be w/h from your paycheck. Only FICA 7.65% (social security & medicare) taxes are w/h & you don't get these back when you file your fed tax return)

    Not knowing your state & since state laws & tax rates vary from state to state & being there are 7 states with no state income taxes, can't say for sure if your are Exempt or not for state income taxes.

    What an employer w/h's depends on your state Gross Pay, filing status, pay period be it weekly, bi weekly or monthly & the number of allowances you claimed on your fed & state w-4's or if you claimed Exempt.

    The number of allowances claimed on a w-4 is a big part of the calculation used by an employer to determine how much is w/h from an employees pay check for income taxes..

    If you claimed zero allowances, your employer w/h's the maximum for federal & state income taxes. You'll get a refund if your employer w/h's too much when you file your 2014 tax return.

    The more you earn, the more your employer will w/h.

    Just saw your UPDATE. If you are NOT a dependent do NOT claim EXEMPT.

    If you are married, you have a choice - you can either claim one allowance for your spouse if your spouse works or zero OR if you have more than 1 job, you can choose either zero or one allowance. You can NOT enter more than 1 on this line . Line C

    If you claim zero, your employer w/h's the maximum for fed & state income taxes & in most cases you won't owe at the end of the year. If you have more than 1 job and or are married with a spouse who has a job - you can play it safe and put zero on line C of the w-4 worksheet. Not knowing how much you earn from each job, or if you have more than one job or what your spouse makes if you have one - can't say for sure. You **could** owe at the end of the year, if you claim more allowances...

    State of Washington has no state income taxes

    **IF** - Only one job & not married & no dependents - claim 2 allowances - Line A & B of the worksheet & enter on Line 5 of your w-4.

    - sorry for earlier confusion..

    Congrats on your first job


    BTW - I did notice when you added your updates, you also edited & added additional info to your original question. Not all of us recheck the question we answer for updates. We are all only trying to help you & many of us are doing this out of the kindness of our hearts. I wasn't the only one confused & yes, I did make an error because I thought you were a dependent and I did NOT see where you said you were single and only one job when you ORIGINALLY posted your question. Seems like others were very confused by your question too because you did NOT give us enough info when you ORIGINALLY posted it. . Next time, give us the facts if you want an accurate answer .

  • 6 years ago

    Is your mother FINANCIALLY dependent on you?? If not, put S-2; then change to S-1 January or February 2015.

    call up irs.gov and query on 1040-A. a quick perusal will give you an overview of what you will be filling out next February, and a some lines down you will see "personal allowances." {Do not panic. You will probably use the easier 1040-EZ (get it??) but idk if it has my example on it.)

    And do not get cross. Tax rules are very complicated and accountants need every scrap of information to figure out your status, and what to advise you. {You mention exempt, we think young teenager.... you mention dependent mother, we think head of household...}

  • ?
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    Congratulations on your new job and GOOD LUCK.

    Fill out your W-4 as Single and 1 Allowance sign the completed W-4 and return it to your employer for their use during the 2014 tax year ONLY for the FIT withholding amounts out of your Gross wages fro each pay period.

    Hope that you find the above enclosed information useful. 07/16/2014

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  • tro
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    if you are single that is 1 allowance, if you support yourself that is one allowance

    if you have more that you support that is one more

    for every $4K that you will be able to deduct in the form of credits and/or deductions you can claim another 'allowance', 1

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