The Form L-4 is the Louisiana Employee Withholding Exemption Certificate, and this form is expected to be filled so that an employer will know how much state income tax to withhold from a new employee’s wages. It is very important for each employee to file a state withholding certificate as well as a federal Form L-4.

Employers in Louisiana are advised to make completing this form an utmost priority. (The federal form can be substituted for the state form, for state tax purposes.) If for any reason an employee fails to file one, an employer is still expected to withhold tax as if the employee had claimed no exemptions.

If a married employee also fails to claim his married status on the form, the employer is still mandated to withhold on the basis of the “single employee” withholding tables. Have it in mind that since the withholding rates for single employees are higher than those for married workers and also since the amount of tax withheld from a given wage payment decreases as the number of exemptions claimed increases, it is imperative that an employer ask all employees to file the proper certificates.

Once an L-4 Form has been submitted, the information will go into effect fairly quickly. But how long exactly before an employee pay check reflects the changes largely depends on the business payroll system.

Employees are advised not to claim more than their correct withholding personal exemptions and the correct number of withholding dependency credits. They should also not claim additional withholding exemptions if they qualify as head-of-household. In such cases, only the withholding personal exemption applicable to single individuals is allowable.

Employees are expected to file a new certificate within 10 days if the number of their exemptions decreases, except where the change occurs as the result of death of a spouse or a dependent. Also note that an employee is allowed to file a new certificate at any time the number of their exemptions increase.

Nonetheless, penalties are imposed for willfully supplying false information or willful failure to supply adequate information that would reduce the withholding exemption. Also note that an employee is expected to fill the L-4form with their employer. Otherwise, the employer is allowed to withhold Louisiana income tax from an employee wages without exemption.

In addition, employers are advised to keep the L-4 certificate within their records. If the employee is believed to have claimed too many exemptions or dependency credits, the employer is mandated to forward a copy of the employee’s signed L-4 form to the Secretary of Revenue Department.

How to Correctly Fill Out L-4 Form in 4 Steps

As an employee, all you have to do is provide your name, address, Social Security number and filing status, and sign and date the form. Here’s how completing the form works.

Step 1: Personal Allowances Worksheet

  • In Block A, enter “0” if you claim neither yourself nor your spouse, or
  • In Block A, enter “1” if you claim yourself, provided you do not claim this exemption in connection with other employment or your spouse has not claimed your exemption, or
  • In Block A, enter “2” if you claim yourself and your spouse. You may choose to enter “0” if you are married, and have either a working spouse, or more than one job. (This may help you avoid having too little tax withheld.)
  • In Block B, enter the number of dependents (other than your spouse or yourself) whom you will claim on your tax return. If no credits are claimed, enter “0”.

Step 2: Personal Information

An employee is mandated to cut here and give the bottom portion of certificate to their employer. They are to keep the top portion as their personal record.

  • In Line 1, type or print your first name, middle initial and your last name
  • In Line 2, type or print your Social Security Number
  • In Line 3, an employee is expected to state they are single, or married to a spouse who doesn’t work, don’t have any dependents, only have income from one job, and aren’t claiming tax credits or Deductions.
  • In Line 4, type in your home address, number and street or rural route.
  • In Line 5,this is where you fill in your City, State and ZIP

Step 3: Claims

  • In Line 6, as an employee and using information provided in Block A above, this is where you state the total number of exemptions you are claiming.
  • In Line 7, also using information provided in. Block B above, this is where an employee states the total number of dependents they are claiming.
  • Line 8 is for every other additional amount, if any, an employee want withheld each pay period.
  • The next Line is where the employee signs and notifies that every information and claims stated in the certificate does not exceed the number to which they are entitled.

Step 4: Employer’s Verification

This part of the certificate is expected to be completed by the employer

  • In Line 9, the employer is expected to state his/her name and address.
  • In Line 10, the employer states the withholding account number

Conclusion

It is important to fill out an L-4 form correctly because the State of Louisiana Department of Revenue requires people to pay taxes on their income gradually throughout the year. In general, your employer will not send form L-4 to the State Department of Revenue.

Instead, after using it to determine your withholding, the company will file it. You only have to fill out the new L-4 form if you start a new job in a new fiscal year or if you want to make changes to how much is withheld from your pay. Situations when you might need to change your L-4 include: getting married or divorced, adding a child to your family, or picking up a second job.

You may also want to submit a new L-4 if you discover that you withheld too much or too little the previous year when you’re preparing your annual tax return, and you expect your circumstances to be similar for the current tax year. Your L-4 changes will take effect within the next one to three pay periods.

Joy Nwokoro