IRS Provides Additional Form W-4P, W-4R Guidance

The IRS has provided additional guidance related to federal income tax withholding requirements for retirement plan and IRA payments. As previously shared, new Form W-4R, Withholding Certificate for Nonperiodic Payments and Eligible Rollover Distributions, may be used in 2022 and must be used starting in 2023 for any nonperiodic distributions. Updated Form W-4P, Withholding Certificate for Periodic Pension or Annuity Payments, is now to be used only for periodic pension or annuity payments. The IRS has attempted to answer some of the outstanding questions regarding use of the new forms.

With regard to the use of electronic substitutes to paper Forms W-4P and W-4R, the IRS references Publications 15-A, Employer’s Supplemental Tax Guide, and 15-T, Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods, for general guidelines but does provide a few clarifications

  • Payers that electronically store payee personal information and accept withholding elections through an account tied to the payee are not required to have the payee submit the information again when completing an electronic substitute to Forms W-4P and W-4R
  • References to page numbers, when not applicable to the substitute form, should be replaced by appropriate references
  • An electronic substitute to Form W-4R can provide a link to a web page containing marginal tax rate tables as long as certain text and instructions are provided

The IRS also indicates that when providing paper substitute forms for Forms W-4P and W-4R, payers should generally follow the same guidelines that apply for electronic substitutes, with the exception that the substitute form must include applicable instructions and worksheets rather than providing a web address.

The IRS confirms that telephonic substitutes for Forms W-4P and W-4R are permitted and intends to issue additional guidance. In the meantime, brief scripting specific to three Form W-4R scenarios are provided, and the IRS specifies the Form W-4P content that should be scripted as well.

And finally, the IRS clarifies that for payers using electronic or paper substitutes for Forms W-4P and W-4R, compliance with the updated forms must occur by the later of January 1, 2023, or 30 days after the IRS releases the final versions of the 2023 Forms W-4P and W-4R.