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Payroll Office - Income Tax Withholding


Subject Area: Payroll Taxes
Policy Title: Income Tax Withholding -- Forms W-4 and M-4
Policy / Procedure No: PAY001
Responsible Office: Payroll Office
Documents Needed: W-4, M-4 available in 225 Richards

PURPOSE: An employee must complete Form W-4 so that the Payroll Office can withhold the correct amount of Federal and state income tax from his/her pay. If an employee wants to claim a different number of exemptions for Massachusetts state Income taxes because your tax situation may change, you may want to refigure your withholding each year, Form M-4 should be completed as well.

DEFINITIONS: W-4 Form -- Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, the employer's basis for withholding Federal Income tax; M-4 Form -- Massachusetts Employee's Withholding Exemption Certificate, the employer's basis for withholding state income tax.

SCOPE: All University employees.


1. All employees are required to prepare and submit a Form W-4 when hired.

2. A current employee may file a new W-4 any time the number of withholding allowances he/she claims changes.

3. An employee whose number of withholding allowances decreases must file a new W-4 within ten days.

4. A current employee should also file a new W-4 if his/her name or marital status changes.

5. A W-4 remains in effect until the employee files another W-4. If a new employee fails to file a W-4, the Payroll Office withholds as if the employee is a single person who claims no withholding allowances.

6. If the employee claims the same number of exemptions for Massachusetts and Federal income tax, only Federal Form W-4 needs to be completed.

7. If you are non-resident alien, see instructions for Form 8233 before completing Form W2.

Click here to see the Income Tax Withholding procedure