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I recently decided to correct my W-4 to minimize my tax refund. I reviewed my paycheck, publication 15, and state withholding instructions to understand the formula used to calculate the tax withheld.

I know that with the federal W-4 the worksheet is used as a guideline, adjusting it based on your specific tax situation is frequently suggested.

My question is that on my state's equivalent form, there is no optional worksheet area. Claiming the "incorrect" number of exemptions would require a math error or stating I will have dependents. Arkansas form AR4EC

Lower on the form it states

I certify that the number of exemptions and dependents claimed on this certificate does not exceed the number to which I am entitled.

Do I have to explicitly follow the instructions on this form and enter a "1", or can I enter a higher number based on my calculations (and the logic that as long as I do not owe money at the end of the year, I was 'entitled' to this lower amount of withholding)? Should I enter the additional number on Line 2 so that the math for line 3 is correct, or leave line 2 blank?

As a data point, California's form uses the same "entitled" verbiage however it comes with a worksheet and explicitly states it should be used for claiming additional allowances because of expected deductions.

  • Do you fall in the low income brackets described on the form you linked? – Alex B May 14 '15 at 4:59
  • @AlexB No I do not – VBCPP May 14 '15 at 15:11
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It seems like your State specifically ties the values on the AR4EC form to the dependents exemptions on your tax return. They clearly state in the instructions:

Do not claim more than the correct number of exemptions

In California, DE4 form doesn't talk about exemptions, but allowances, which is not the same. And you can claim, technically, as many allowances as you like. That doesn't seem to be the case in AR, so you need to follow the instructions and fill the form based on the actual exemptions you're qualified for.

  • I noticed the different terms but I have seen them used inconsistently elsewhere (as another datapoint, Maryland calls them exemptions everywhere but the certify line however they do give a worksheet to allow changes based on itemized deductions forms.marylandtaxes.com/current_forms/mw507.pdf ). A bit disappointing but I'll accept your explanation of the form and go with the "Just do what it says" approach – VBCPP May 14 '15 at 23:15

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