skip navigation

This page is designed for modern browsers. You will have a better experience with a better browser.

Brown Home Brown Home Brown Home Brown Home Brown Home Brown Home


Tax Withholding FAQ



Can the Payroll Office offer tax guidance?

The Payroll Office cannot offer tax guidance to Brown employees or students. This information may be obtained from an accountant or tax professional or by researching the IRS documentation found at

How do I change the amount of Federal and State taxes that are withheld from my pay check?

The Federal Form W-4 is used to determine the amount of Federal taxes withheld from each check. This form is available at the Payroll Office window or can be downloaded from the Human Resources web site at "HR Forms". The W-4 form must also be used in the case of claiming an exemption from having any taxes withheld (normally students). However, when claiming "exempt", it is necessary to re-file this form each calendar year before February 15th. Your W-4 form may be changed at any time during the year.

State of Rhode Island taxes are withheld based upon a tax table published by the State. Complete a State of RI W4 form to change the amount of State taxes withhold from your paycheck

What is a W4 Form?

The W4 form is an IRS form that tells an employer how many withholding allowances to use when calculating and withholding federal income tax from an employee’s pay.  A W4 form includes detailed instructions, and a worksheet to help the employee figure his/her correct number of withholding allowances.  Consider completing a new W4 form whenever your personal or financial situation changes.

Does RI have a separate W4 form?

The State of RI does have a W4 form. It may be accessed from the Controller's Office website/Forms/Payroll

What happens if I didn’t submit a  W4 form?

Your taxation status will default to Single with zero allowances.

How often can I change my W4?

The W4 form can be changed as many times throughout the year as you find necessary.  Once a W4 form has been submitted to the Payroll Office, the Payroll Office staff will make the change as soon as possible. This change to your marital status or withholding allowances will be done within 30 days of the date that the form is received by the Payroll Office.

How do I claim exempt from Federal Income Tax withholding?

Submit the W4 form with “exempt” written on line 7, please be sure to leave line 5 blank. The IRS has strict guidelines for claiming exemption from withholding.  For further information, please visit the IRS website, see Publication 505.

Who do I submit my completed W4 form to?

W4 forms must be submitted to the Payroll Office on the 2nd floor of the Brown Office Building. The form can also be mailed to the Payroll Office, Box 1873.

How many tax allowances can I claim?

The Payroll Office, Human Resources, and Benefits Staff are not permitted to assist you in determining the number of allowance you can claim. Please consult a tax professional or access further information on the IRS website (www.IRS.Gov)