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I'm sure my question in the title was not clear. I was working 40+ hours a week or close to that and then my hours were cut to almost none - some pay periods I only work 4-8 hours now. I need as much of what little I am earning as possible, so I filed a new W4 claiming more exemptions. My next paycheck was for 4 hours of work and instead of less taxes being withheld, I received a check for 54 cents. I called the payroll department, and the person said I had previously been having an extra amount withheld from each check (which I must have done but don't clearly remember doing). On the W4 I just filed, I left line 6 for 'Additional amount, if any, to be withheld' blank. To me that would mean I do not want anything extra taken out no matter what it may have been before, but the payroll person said that I should have specified zero on that line. Since I did not do this, they went ahead and took out what they had previously been taking. My wages for the 4 hours worked was $77.98 before taxes and I received a check for 54 cents. I think she is mistaken and that since the line was left blank, they should not have withheld any additional amount. Am I correct or is the payroll department in the right on this please?

Thank you very much.

  • Ben Miller has already answered the main question as to whether you can get your money from your employer or will have to wait till you file taxes, but instead of getting steamed up as in "Am I correct or is the payroll department in the right on this please?" why not just file a new W4 form with a zero on the additional taxes line? That way, your next paycheck will, hopefully, not have that additional amount taken out. – Dilip Sarwate Jun 16 '15 at 20:35
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The form is read by a person in your payroll department, and most likely they enter numbers in payroll software. They probably didn't notice the fact that you had previously had a number in that box, so they didn't change it in the software. They can correct it for your next check easily enough, but it is probably a hassle for them to change the check they already issued.

If you had put a zero in the box, perhaps it would have been noticeable enough that they would have checked that box in the software and made the change. But, in my opinion, it is kind of silly for them to say that a blank box means "no change." They should have called you and asked you what you intended if there was any doubt.

If you do nothing, you'll get this money back next year at tax time, so it is up to you how much of a big deal you want to make of this so that you don't have to wait 9 months for your $77.44.

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