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Tax.appeal.168, Tax Accountant
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Experience:  3+ decades of varied tax industry exp. Tax Biz owner
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I filled in too many exemptions on my w4. I got a locked in

Customer Question

I filled in too many exemptions on my w4. I got a locked in letter
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I can provide support for 6 exemptions. Just want to know the chances of the irs to release me
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 1 year ago.

Typically a Lock-In-Letter is received by a taxpayer when the IRS feels that their withholding amount is inadequate. The IRS deals with matters such as this on a case-by-case basis. If it will create a hardship to you for your employer to withhold more, the IRS should take this into consideration. Not knowing your circumstances, I am unable to tell you for sure that the IRS will release the lock-in letter.

What you need to do

  • You can ask the IRS to change their decision. Call them at the number shown below within 30 days from the date of the letter. The IRS will consider your explanation of why you believe you are entitled to a different withholding rate or number of withholding allowances (or exempt status)
  • When you call, have the following information available. If you file jointly, you must have the same information available for your spouse
    • Form W-4 and worksheets. (You must complete the "Two Earners Multiple Jobs Worksheet" on the back of the Form W-4, if you have more than one job or your spouse works.)
    • Most current pay stubs for all jobs
    • Number of withholding allowances you (and your spouse) are claiming on your Form(s) W-4.
    • The social security number and date of birth for any dependent you are entitled to claim
    • A copy of the current tax return due, including all schedules, forms, and attachments
  • ----------------------------------------------------------------------
  • What happens if the IRS determines that I do not have adequate withholding?
    We can tell your employer to withhold federal income tax at an increased rate. We do this by issuing a “lock-in letter.” At that point, your employer must disregard any Form W-4 that decreases the amount of your withholding. You’ll receive a copy of the lock-in letter, and we’ll give you some time before the lock-in rate is effective to submit a new Form W-4. This form must include a statement that explains why you believe you’re entitled to a different withholding rate or number of withholding allowances. You should send your Form W-4 and supporting documents to the IRS address as shown on this webpage. Once we issue a lock-in letter, you won’t be able to decrease your withholding unless we approve it.

  • What if I don’t want to submit a Form W-4 to my employer?
    Your employer must withhold income tax from your wages as if you’re single with zero allowances.

How to get help

  • Call toll free 1-***-***-**** weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Send a fax to 1-***-***-****
  • Write to:

    Internal Revenue Service
    Compliance Services
    Withholding Compliance Unit
    P.O. Box 9047, Stop 837
    Andover, MA 01810-0


Let me know if I can be of further assistance to you regarding this matter.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have 3 kids and filing jointly. I have had 6 exemptions forever. However, because I needed the money I increased my exemptions.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have no problem providing the information for my wife and kids. Just wanted to know the chance of them changing from single with 0 exemptions
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 1 year ago.

Typically do you receive refunds or do you usually owe? If you usually owe, and/or currently have a tax liability, this is likely why the IRS sent the lock in letter. If you have a current tax liability, the chances of them releasing the lock-in might be slim. However, again, if you can prove that them doing this creates a hardship, they may work with you. I can't say for certain what their actions will be. Listed below is some information from the Internal Revenue Manual. (11-01-2008)
Withholding Compliance Program

Sorry that I am unable to provide you with a more favorable response.

  1. The mission of the Withholding Compliance program (WHC) is to ensure taxpayers who have serious under-withholding problems are brought into compliance with federal income tax withholding requirements. The program uses Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, information to identify taxpayers with insufficient withholding.

  2. The goal is to correct withholding to ensure that taxpayers have enough income tax withheld to meet their withholding tax obligations.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
what should I do. They are really going to withhold at single at 0. I am married with 3 kids
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 1 year ago.

As mentioned previously, let them know that withholding at single and 0 will create a financial hardship for you. You will have to contact them and explain to them why withholding at single and 0 will create a hardship for you. I provided a telephone number in one of the previous responses. There are no magic words, simply explain to them that with a wife and 3 children, that will create a financial hardship for you.