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In Federal tax form W4, I am trying to figure out what to put in the following section so that my w4 is correct. I changed my status from single to married since I got married recently at the following location on my employer's website:

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In the Claim Dependents section, I selected 1 since my spouse is dependent on me. However, when I selected 1 here, the step 3 in automatically generated W4 for me looks like the following on my employer's website:

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However, the W-4 instructions says I should multiply other dependents by 500. But for me it's showing $1. So should I put 500 in the sections for Claim Dependents so that in the automatically generated W4 it would show $500 instead of $1?

another question, can I also select Head of Household for filing status since I'm the only person earning in my family? Is it better than selecting Married filing jointly?

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If you are filing your taxes jointly, you may not claim your spouse as a dependent, so the number you actually want to put there is 0. In general, though, you should enter whatever numbers your employer's website requires to complete the form correctly.

As for your filing status, married filing jointly will be better than head of household as the tax brackets are set to higher income levels and you have to be unmarried to file as head of household anyway. The head of household status is generally used by unmarried people with dependents.

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  • Thanks. The employer's website is allowing me to put 0 just like it was when I used to file as Single.So I believe I can let it 0 and proceed. So there is no tax benefit for filing as married? – Tan Feb 26 at 17:22
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    In fact, you can never claim your spouse as a dependent no matter if you file jointly or separately. In some situations (e.g. if your spouse isn't filing a return) you used to be able to claim an exemption for your spouse even if you filed separately (though exemption credits have been eliminated), but that is still not claiming your spouse as a "dependent". – user102008 Feb 26 at 18:07
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    @Tan In most cases there's a big tax benefit to filing as married, especially if your wife isn't making any money. The calculation of tax owed is different for married filers than for single filers. The income cut-off for each tax bracket basically doubles. In other words, you pay less tax for the same amount of income. But it's unrelated to claiming dependents. – Daniel Feb 26 at 18:11
  • Thanks Daniel and others. Yes, my wife isn't making money so I'll go with just changing my filing status to what I did above and won't touch dependents part. – Tan Feb 26 at 18:30
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W-4s recently changed from using a "number of exemptions" to a deduction amount per dependent. It looks like your employer's website hasn't been updated for that change yet. I would first talk to your payroll department to see what they recommend, but at worst you could enter in whatever numbers make the resulting generated W-4 correct.

can I also select Head of Household for filing status since I'm the only person earning in my family?

No - you have to be "unmarried" to file as head of household.

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    "It looks like your employer's website hasn't been updated for that change yet." It looks like it has been updated, as "Claim Dependents", "Other Income (not from jobs)", and "Deductions" are only from the new W-4. If the OP is really claiming a non-child dependent, he/she should put 500 under Claim Dependents. – user102008 Feb 26 at 18:04

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