I've changed jobs in the past year and while my salary has increased, I'm still in the same tax bracket.

But my federal tax withholding has increased much more per paycheck.

I'm trying to figure out what my options were when I filled out my 'W-4' for the last job.

How do I:

  1. Get a copy of my W-4
  2. Figure out how this increase happened?
  • 2
    Have you asked your HR staff for the W4?
    – BobbyScon
    Feb 25, 2017 at 1:08
  • Or just submit a new W4. Did you change jobs meaning you went to a new company?
    – quid
    Feb 25, 2017 at 2:14
  • You typically don't fill out a w-4 when changing jobs within the company, but there may be situations where it's necessary.
    – D Stanley
    Feb 25, 2017 at 3:45
  • This is a W-4 form: irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf It will show you what your options were. Feb 28, 2017 at 21:13

3 Answers 3


Every paycheck I have ever received has had the number of state and federal exemptions that applied to that paycheck. Even in the case of direct deposits there is a stub that exists. It may have been sent by email or it exists at a 3rd party website. That is where I would start.


You don't need the actual W-4. Just ask how many allowances you claimed. They should be able to tell you that over the phone without divulging any confidential information. It may also be on your actual pay stub, if you still have access to those. You can also find the same tables that they use in the IRS Web site and figure out how many exemptions result in the withholding you are expecting.

Note that the withholding depends on the amount of your paycheck and the frequency, so if you went from every two weeks to twice a month, you'd have a higher withholding. They also assume that you make that amount for the entire year, so even if you end up in the same bracket a higher paycheck would mean a larger withholding.

How do I figure out how this increase happened?

Download Publication 15 from the IRA web site. Use the filing status, pay frequency, taxable pay amount, and number of allowances, and look up the withholding in the tables at the end for each paycheck. Those tables should line up with the amount withheld each paycheck.


You can reach out to your Payroll department to obtain that. I doubt they will email it or mail it to you. You might have to go in person.

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