Skip to main content

Can my employer change my federal witholding with me filling out a new W-2 form authorizing it?

Sanger, TX |
Filed under: Tax law

According to my pay stub, my employer changed my witholdings from 1/0 to 2/0 without my authorization. I did not notice until 3 paychecks later. Is this legal?

Attorney Answers 3


You list your dependent information on a Form W4. Your employer is supposed to base his deductions on that information. If there was a mistake, you should bring it to his attention and hopefully he will correct it. If he increased the number of dependents from 1 to 2, then deducted less federal withholding from your check. Its not worth making an issue about it if he is willing to correct it. If you want to make up the missed deductions, you can always ask him to withhold a little extra on your next pay check to get you caught up.

THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.

Mark as helpful


The prior attorney offers a very practical solution to your problem. Just be aware that the Form W-4 is signed by you and that is the controlling document. The employer has no right to not follow your specific request as detailed in the Form W-4. This may be a warning as to your employer; keep on top of things and do not trust the employer.

Hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the thumbs up (helpful) tab below. Thanks.
Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law in PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties and services clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania. He can be reached at 215-735-2336 or at the email address listed below. He is rated as an AV Preminent attorney from Lexis-Nexis Martindale Hubbell having the received the highest possble rating in legal ability and ethical standards. In addition, he has received a 10.0 rating from AVVO and recently was featured as a 5Star Wealth Manager in the Philadelphia Magazine, November 2009 issue on page 123.
Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.
Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

Mark as helpful


Ask your employer why they did this. This will reduce your withholding and cause you to possible have to pay taxes and penalties at the end of the year. You can give your employer a new Form W-4 and ask them to correct your withholding. They should not make these types of changes without notifying you and/or receiving your consent.

Any individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.

Mark as helpful

Tax law topics

Recommended articles about Tax law

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics