The 2019 Form W-4 worksheet and the IRS withholding calculator are asking questions about deductions and adjustments. I do not know these numbers from memory and I think I can get them from prior years returns.

What forms and fields should I look at from my 2017 and 2018 taxes in order to correctly complete my 2019 Form W-4?

Can I reference my 2018 Form W-4 and make adjustments from it or must I wholly recompute my withholding?

  • 1
    It's exactly the same as the 2018 form with updated numbers, is there any particular instruction you're having trouble with?
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 17:37
  • '18 did change from '17 though, perhaps you never submitted an updated '18.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 17:41
  • In my specific case I'm married filing jointly with three kids. My current withholding is 6. Based on the new form it should be 10. The difference I think is line E from the worksheet where I would enter 2 for each child instead of 1. You may be right about not submitting an '18. I will edit my question to focus on how to complete the W-4 worksheet from prior years filings.
    – Freiheit
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


A few months into 2018 the IRS released a new W-4 worksheets, and advised taxpayers to review their W-4 settings to reflect the changes in the new tax law.

If you didn't make a change to your W-4 last year after the tax law changes you might be better off waiting until you file taxes this year to see if your numbers were accurate enough.

The elimination of the personal exemption and the changes for State and local taxes were significant changes for some taxpayers. They needed to update their W-4.

Most taxpayers don't resubmit a W-4 each year. Exceptions include those who were claiming exempt, and those that had an unusual tax event last year or expect an unusual tax event this year.

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