Virtual Adaptation - FINE PRINT: W4 Form

Aug 03, 2020
Teaching Remotely, Taxes

While the W-4 Form is the same this year (2021) as it was last year (2020), prior to that it underwent a pretty substantial redesign. According to the IRS, “The new design [2020] reduces the form's complexity and increases the transparency and accuracy of the withholding system. While it uses the same underlying information as the old design, it replaces complicated worksheets with more straightforward questions that make accurate withholding easier for employees.” 


The activity FINE PRINT: W4 Form allows students to analyze the new W4 Form and understand what information is captured on it. At a time where many schools have transitioned to offering synchronous and asynchronous learning, we’ve listed some adaptations and extension ideas that may work for your current classroom environment.


Synchronous Environment Ideas:

  • As a whole group, take students on a tour of the W4 Form pointing out key information and changes. 
  • If your meeting platform allows, break students into small group breakout rooms to review the W4 Form in the assignment and answer questions #1-10. 
  • Bring the students back together as a whole group and answer any questions or clarify any misunderstandings. 
  • Answer question #11 as a group to emphasize the importance of the W4 Form. 


Asynchronous Environment Ideas:

  • Use the Google Form version of this activity (to find the Google Form version, see the Teacher Tip at the top of the document) and add answer feedback to the questions for students to review after submitting their response. By using the Google Form version, responses will be graded automatically and the answer feedback you provide will deepen the learning and reflection of the assignment.


No Tech? No Problem!

This activity can be printed and distributed to students as it is written.

Extension Resources:

CASE STUDY: W2, W4, Refunds, Oh My!

ARTICLE: Form W4: FAQs, How To Fill It Out, Calculator, & Help For 2020 (Nerdwallet

If you’re looking for additional resources with suggestions on how to facilitate in a virtual environment, view NGPF’s Virtual Adaptation Series!

About the Author

Amanda Volz

Amanda joins the NGPF Team with 18 years of experience teaching personal finance. During that time, she led her students to hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships, won multiple awards, and most importantly, impacted the financial lives of thousands of high school students. Amanda prides herself on being an educational leader and is constantly looking for innovative ways to make the classroom relevant, rigorous, and fun. She is a passionate advocate for financial education and has been a long time member of the NGPF community. Fun fact - Amanda was NGPF’s first teacher account! When Amanda isn’t working, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and traveling with her husband and two children.