W-4 Tax Withholding Allowance Designations

A withholding allowance certificate ( W-4) must be completed by every CSU employee, to designate your individual federal and state tax withholding information, such as:

  • Whether to withhold at the single rate or at the lower married rate.

  • How many withholding allowances you claim (each allowance reduces the amount withheld).

  • Whether you want an additional amount withheld.

Employees will complete one of the following two forms used, in lieu of Federal Form W-4, as withholding allowance certificates within the Uniform State Payroll System (USPS) by the State Controller's Office:

Note: You must specify a filing status and a number of withholding allowances. You cannot specify only a dollar amount of withholding.

Changing Your Withholding

Events during the year may change your marital status or the exemptions, adjustments, deductions, or credits you expect to claim on your tax return. When this happens, you may need to file a new EAR (Faculty/Staff ) or SPAR (Student Assistants) to change your withholding status or number of allowances.

How to Find Out if You Are Withholding Enough

Need help in figuring out whether you are withholding enough? You can review the IRS' Tax Withholding Information. You can also use the IRS Withholding Calculator and the California Franchise Tax Board's Withholding Calculator. With the help of current pay stubs and a copy of last year's tax forms, you can check to see if you are withholding the right amount, then use the calculators' results to fill out a new EAR (Faculty/Staff ) or SPAR (Student Assistants) to change your withholding status or number of allowances.

Also, you can view publications and worksheets to help you determine your withholding by visiting the websites for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the State of California's Franchise Tax Board (FTB).