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Hello and thank you for using Just Answer,The past employer is to treat back pay as wages in the year paid and withhold and pay employment taxes as required. You would not be allowed to claim exempt form withholding. To qualify for exempt status, the employee must have had no tax liability for the previous year and must expect to have no tax liability for the current year. If the employer knows the withholding is incorrect then they are to use the single status. You could complete a W4 for the ex employer and request either married or married but withhold at the higher single rate. If the time they receive the W4 and the pay out are not close then the change could be made to reflect the correct amount for status and number of allowances.
Yes you will receive a W2 at year's end and all the tax withheld will be credited to you on your tax return when you file.
If you were truly exempt from withholding (based on the rules for that above I mentioned) then you would have needed to give them a W4 a new Form W-4 claiming exempt status by February 15 of the year. So if you are really under exempt status the ex employer will most likely tell you that they cannot change that now as the date has passed and by law they are required to use single.
I wish I could tell you differently as everyone wants the use of their money during the year but you will receive any overpayment for tax when you file and show the refund amount.
I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX knowing you will receive a refund for the extra tax withheld is some comfort.
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