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e-Alert – Massachusetts Now Requires M-4 State Withholding Form

By January 9, 2020No Comments


The State of Massachusetts has updated its Form M-4, the “Massachusetts Employee’s Withholding Exemption Certificate,” and, effective January 1, 2020, requires all new employees to complete this form.
Previously, most withholding allowances were based on the employee’s personal exemptions. This included their individual withholdings and their spouse or dependent.


As of January 1, 2020, the revised federal Form W-4 reflects the changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), and the withholding calculations are no longer associated with the amount of personal exemptions. Consequently, employers can no longer default to the W-4 withholdings to reflect an employee’s withholdings for the state.

  • Effective January 1, 2020, Massachusetts requires all new employees to fill out the state withholding certificate, Form M-4.
  • Current employees do not need to fill out the form unless they wish to change their withholding.
  • Effective January 1, 2020, new employees must fill out both the federal Form W-4 and Form M-4,the Massachusetts Employee’s Withholding Exemption Certificate, according to an email newsletter issued by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

Next Steps for Employers

  • Ensure you are using the most recent Form M-4 and W-4.
  • Notify anyone involved in the hiring process of the new 2020 tax forms requirements.
  • Correspond with your payroll provider regarding the new Form M-4. If you are a Full-Service or Managed Payroll client of HR Knowledge, we will handle this for you.

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This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.