Income tax woes? Change your W-4

It's income tax season, and that usually means one of three things:  You received a refund, you paid additional taxes, or you're an income tax whiz who didn't receive a refund but you paid no extra taxes either.

No matter your situation, you -- like many employees -- may want to consider changing your W-4 form.

"We do have more activity this time of year," said Doug Anderson, ISU payroll manager. "People see that they are either getting a large refund or that they owe a large amount."

What are my current withholdings?

Knowing your current exemptions is the place to start. You can find these near the top of your monthly pay stub, under "W4." Marital status, federal exemptions and state exemptions are listed there. Your electronic pay stub is available via AccessPlus; follow the Employee tab and "Payroll Info."

Need some help?

The Internal Revenue Service website contains a withholding calculator to help you determine your income tax allowances.

Anderson said there is no magic formula for determining your income tax allowances; each person's situation is unique. He recommends thoroughly reading the instructions on both the state and federal W-4 forms before selecting your withholdings.

"The W-4 [forms] walk you through what needs to be done," Anderson said. "The worksheets [that accompany the forms] are the best source to use to see what you can claim."

How to change your W-4

There is no limit to the number of times per year employees can submit new W-4 forms. Both the state (PDF) and federal (PDF) forms are available on the payroll department's website. Paper copies also are available in the Human Resource Service Center, 3810 Beardshear, or in the payroll office, first floor of the Administrative Services Building.

To make changes, print and complete the forms and return them to:

ISU Payroll Office
3608 Administrative Services Building
Ames, IA 50011-3608