Using E-Signature to Complete W-4 Forms

Onboarding paperwork can be overwhelming for both HR professionals and candidates, and the W-4 form–also known as Form W-4–are among the documents that a new hire must complete before starting a new job. In this article, we’ll explain what the W-4 form is, who is required to complete it, and how DocuSign eSignature can help make the process easier for new employees.

What is a W-4 Form?

The W-4 is an IRS form that exists to estimate how much tax withholdings should be withheld from each paycheck. It might seem like a straightforward form, but it requires inputting personal information, forecasting expenses, chart referencing, and mathematical calculations. As anyone can imagine, it would be easy to make a mistake and wind up with a surprise IRS bill during tax season. With so much at stake, it’s not unusual for new hires to approach their HR leads for help making sense of the process.

Who needs to fill it out?

Typically, new hires are required to fill out the tax document before they begin a full-time, permanent position. Existing employees should consider updating their W-4 form if their circumstances change. This might include getting married, earning a promotion or having children.

It’s not usually necessary for freelancers, independent contractors or those who are self-employed to file a W-4.

Information required on a Form W-4

Changes were made to the W-4 in 2019 as part of changes ushered in by a new tax law signed in 2017. The form was adjusted so that the amount held back for taxes in each employee’s paycheck would be more accurate.

Information required on the new form includes: 

  • Basic information (such as your name, address, and social security number)
  • Total income
  • Number of dependents
  • Income from outside a full-time job
  • Number of anticipated tax deductions

Although it’s not required, you can also choose to increase your amount of tax withholdings.

W-4 template in DocuSign eSignature

DocuSign’s W-4 Template, made easily available via PowerForms, offers a quick and easy solution. Using the shareable template, employees can fill out the form faster and HR professionals can upload the templates to their systems more efficiently.

Rather than task workers with complicated calculations, the pre-built template does fast math for the user to eliminate human errors. And in addition to taking paper out of the equation, it also removes any confusion employees might have about what they need to fill out by tagging required fields. Not to mention, highly sensitive personal information is kept safe and secure.

Furthermore, by digitizing the process, HR professionals are able to avoid the complexity of obtaining wet signatures and the tedious back-and-forth required when illegible handwriting makes vital data unreadable.

Want to get started? Existing eSignature customers can access the W-4 template for free, and non-DocuSign customers can sign up for eSignature to access the form. For those looking to further expedite the process, DocuSign Retrieve lets you download form data en masse for use in external systems, which will save even more precious time.

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