Question of the Day: What percent of taxpayers don’t know what a W-4 is?

Apr 18, 2018
Question of the Day, Taxes, Current Events, Research

Answer: 57%


  • Do you know what a W-4 is? If so,
    • Explain what it is in your own words.
    • How did you learn about it? 
  • Given that anyone who earns a paycheck has to complete a W-4, why do you think so many people still don't know what it is? 
  • You are hired by the I.R.S. to rename the W-4 so more people will remember it. What would you call it? 

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (from MarketWatch):

A majority of workers (77%) are confused by the new Tax Cut and Jobs Act, according to a nationally representative survey of 2,500 people released Tuesday by TaxAudit, a customer advocacy company based in Folsom, Calif. 'This is the most dramatic remodeling of tax legislation we’ve seen in 30 years,' Mark Olander, TaxAudit chief executive, said. 'Unfortunately, we expect the new tax law to further increase stress levels and confusion.


Ensure that all of your students know what a W-4 is by completing this NGPF Case Study: W-2, W-4, Refunds, Oh My!

About the Authors

Danielle Bautista

Danielle is a native of Southern California and a recent graduate from the University of Maine, where she braved the frigid winters—a feat in and of itself—and earned her Bachelor's degree in International Affairs. She has a passion for working with non-profit organizations and serving populations in underprivileged communities. When Danielle isn't writing NGPF blog posts, spearheading various outreach projects, or managing contests and flash surveys, you can find her doing some sort of outdoor activity, learning a new hobby, or cracking what she thinks are witty puns!

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.