How to Fill Out Michigan Withholding Form MI-W4 in 2023 + FAQs

Picture of Lana Dolyna, EA, CTC
Lana Dolyna, EA, CTC

Senior Tax Advisor

Form MI-W4 is a state employee withholding form. Accurately filling out Form MI-W4 allows your employer to withhold the correct amount for state income taxes from your wages. While most people only need to fill out an MI-W4 once after starting new employment, changes in your life circumstances may require you to fill out a new one. 

Depending on the number of allowances you claim and the amount withheld, you can increase your chances of receiving a refund on your state tax return.

What is Michigan Form MI-W4?

Form MI-W4, Employee’s Michigan Withholding Exemption Certificate, is a state tax form issued by the Michigan Department of Treasury. This form details your withholding preferences to your employer and the state government.

This form tells your employer how much state income tax should be withheld from your paycheck. You can reduce the amount withheld each pay period by claiming allowances on this form. You have the option to request extra withholding to cover any additional tax obligations or increase your chances of receiving a tax refund.

Form MI-W4 is a state-level equivalent of IRS Form W-4, the withholding form for federal income tax. Explore our W-4 guide if you need help filling out your IRS withholding documents.

Do I Need to Fill Out MI-W4?

You must submit a completed Form MI-W4 to your employer on or before your first day on the job. This applies to Michigan residents living and working in the state. It also applies to out-of-state employees who live in another location but work for a Michigan-based employer. 

What Happens if I Fail to Fill Out a Form MI-W4?

If you do not fill out a Form MI-W4, the law requires your employer to withhold taxes from your pay as if you claimed no allowances. This means they will withhold the maximum amount, potentially resulting in less take-home pay.

Failing to fill out your MI-W4 accurately can have additional consequences. If you claim more than 10 exemptions or declare you are exempt from withholding, your employer must report the form to the Michigan Department of Treasury. 

Claiming more exemptions than you are entitled to or claiming that you are exempt from withholding if you aren’t can result in an audit.

How to Update Form MI-W4

In most cases, you are not required to fill out a new MI-W4 unless you’ve experienced life changes modifying the number of exemptions you can claim or the form’s directions require it. 

For instance, you are required to issue your employer a new MI-W4 within 10 days if your residency status has changed. 

You may need to update your Form MI-W4 if you experience one of the following life situation changes:

  • You move to a different address, whether in Michigan or out-of-state, but continue working for the same employer.
  • Your filing status changes due to marriage or divorce.
  • The number of dependents you can claim has changed (you have children or claim an older family member as a dependent).
  • One of the people in your household (you, your spouse, or your dependents) now qualifies for a special disability exemption.
  • One of the people in your household now qualifies as a disabled veteran.


If you wish to update your Form MI-W4, follow these steps:

  • Download a copy of the latest Form MI-W4 on the Michigan Department of Treasury website.
  • Find MI-W4 on the list and click the corresponding link.
  • Read the instructions on Page 2 carefully, then fill out the form with your updated details and information. You may need a copy of your latest Form MI-1040 to calculate your exemptions.
  • Print or download a copy of the completed form.
  • Submit the completed form to your employer. For most companies, you’ll need to email or send the form to HR or the payroll department.

Consequences for Failing to Update your MI-W4

Failing to update your Form MI-W4 when your life situation changes can result in over-withholding or under-withholding. 

If you are over-withholding, it means you are not claiming as many exemption allowances as you are entitled to, resulting in more money being withheld for income taxes. Over-withholding is not against the law but can unnecessarily reduce your take-home money.

Under-withholding means you are claiming more allowances than you are entitled to, which has serious potential consequences. Under-withholding causes you to withhold less money than required for income taxes. Failing to pay your taxes on time exposes you to penalties and an audit from the Michigan Department of Treasury.

In Michigan, the penalty for failure to pay taxes on time equals a flat rate plus interest calculated based on the current interest rate and the amount of time the tax was unpaid.

  • In the first two months after the due date, the penalty equals 5% plus interest.
  • During the period after the first two months, the penalty rises by 5% each month, up to a maximum of 25%.


You can use the Michigan Penalty and Interest Calculator on the Michigan State Government website to estimate your unpaid tax penalties.

How to Fill Out Michigan Employee’s Withholding Exemption Certificate

Follow these steps to complete your Form MI-W4 as accurately as possible and ensure you claim the maximum amount of allowances.

Lines 1-5: Enter your Personal Information

Lines 1 through 5 on Form MI-W4 require you to enter your complete personal information and report your employment status.

  • On Line 1, enter your Social Security Number (SSN).
  • On Line 2, enter your date of birth. Use the month-day-year format (MM/DD/YYYY).
  • On Line 3, enter your full legal name, including your first name, your middle initial, and your last name.
  • On Line 4, enter your Michigan identification number. You can use a Michigan State ID number or your standard Michigan Driver’s License number.
  • In the section under Line 3, enter your complete home address, your city or township, state abbreviation, and ZIP code.
  • On Line 5, check Yes if you are a new employee submitting your first MI-W4, then fill out the hiring date in the section to the right. If you are updating your form to your current employer, check No.

Line 6: Personal and Dependent Exemptions

On Line 6, enter the number of personal and dependent exemptions you wish to claim. A dependent includes any qualifying child or relative as defined by the IRS, even if your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) exceeds the limits to claim federal tax credits.

You must use your Form MI-1040 to calculate the number of exemptions you are entitled to. Your exemptions are listed under Line 9. The number of exemptions you can claim on your MI-W4 must not exceed the total number of exemptions listed on MI-1040 Line 9.

  • Form MI-1040 Line 9a features the number of standard exemptions you can claim. According to the Form MI-1040 instructions, you can claim one exemption for yourself, your spouse if filing jointly, and each of your dependents.
  • Form MI-1040 Line 9b features the number of Michigan Special Exemptions: Deaf, Blind, or Certain Disabilities you can claim. Claim one exemption per person that qualifies for one of the following conditions: blind, deaf, paraplegic, hemiplegic, quadriplegic, or totally and permanently disabled.
  • Form MI-1040 Line 9c features the number of special exemptions you can claim as a qualified disabled veteran.
  • Form MI-1040 Line 9d features the number of stillbirth exemptions you can claim following the receipt of a Certificate of Stillbirth from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) in 2022.
  • If another person can claim you as a dependent, your Form MI-1040 Line 9e should be checked, in which case, your Form’s Line 9a should say 0.


Add the number of exemptions listed on Lines 9a, 9b, 9c, and 9d of your Form MI-1040. The result is the maximum number of exemptions you can claim on your Form MI-W4.

For example, if you are married and filing jointly with three qualifying children, and one of your dependents is deaf and qualifies for a Michigan Special Exemption, the maximum number of exemptions you can claim are broken down as follows:

  • One for yourself
  • One for your spouse
  • Three for each one of your children
  • One for your deaf child


In this example, you would be able to claim a maximum of 6 exemptions. In that case, you can write any number up to 6 on Form MI-W4 Line 6.

There may be exceptions to the number of exemptions you can claim. These can apply in the following circumstances:

  • If another person will claim you as their dependent, you cannot claim an exemption for yourself.
  • You cannot claim your personal exemption with more than one employer at a time. To ensure maximum accuracy, claim all the exemptions you are entitled to on the Form MI-W4 for one of your jobs, and claim 0 on all others.
  • Do not claim your spouse’s or dependents’ exemptions if they claimed it for themselves with another person, such as their employer. Similarly, do not claim one for yourself if your spouse claims your exemption.

Line 7: Additional Amount you Want Deducted from Each Pay

Line 7 allows you to assign a set dollar amount to be deducted from your pay as extra withholding. You must have your employer’s approval to request additional withholding.

If your employer agrees, the dollar amount you entered will be deducted from each pay period as appropriate. For example, if you are paid weekly and enter $50, your employer will withhold $50 from each weekly check as additional withholding.

Line 8: Reasons Wages Might Be Exempt From Withholding

Line 8 allows you to inform your employer and the Michigan Department of Treasury that you are exempt from withholding, provided you meet one of the three possible eligibility factors. 

Follow the instructions on Page 2 carefully to ensure you meet the guidelines:

8a. A Michigan Income Tax Liability is Not Expected This Year

You may only check this box if:

  • Your employment is less than full-time, temporary, or on an intermittent basis.
  • The combination of your personal and dependent exemptions exceed your yearly taxable salary.
  • You have claimed an exemption from federal withholding and did not incur Michigan income taxes the previous year.

8b. Wages are Exempt From Withholding

Check this box if your wages are exempt from state income tax withholding. Potential situations where this may apply include:

  • You are the spouse of a member of the United States Armed Forces stationed in Michigan and do not reside in Michigan.
  • You work in the state of Michigan but live in one of the six reciprocal states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, or Wisconsin.
  • You are Native American, belong to a tribe with an active tax agreement with the State of Michigan, and your primary residence is within the agreement zone. Consult the Michigan state website for more information.
  • You are a member of a federally recognized Native American tribe with no tax agreement with the State of Michigan, you live within that tribe’s designated Indian Country (as defined in 18 USC 1151), and you earn a living from within that Indian Country.

8c. Permanent Home (Domicile) is Located in the Following Renaissance Zone

A Michigan Geographic Renaissance Zone is an area of the state legally designated as virtually free from local and state taxes. Resident individuals and businesses do not pay Michigan personal income taxes, state education taxes, local personal and real property taxes, local income taxes, or Detroit utility users taxes. 

While federal taxes may still apply, being a resident of a Renaissance Zone allows you to claim an exemption from withholding. If you live in a Renaissance Zone, check this box and indicate the name of the Zone you reside in.

Sign and Date

Write the completion date and sign the form.


Here are the answers to some common questions about filling out form MI-W4.

If you have claimed an exemption from withholding on your federal W-4, check box 8a on your MI-W4.

If you aren’t a resident of Michigan, fill in your out-of-state address on Line 3. Then, check whether you owe Michigan income taxes. For instance, if you work in Michigan but live in a reciprocal state, you may be able to claim an exemption from withholding. Otherwise, fill out the form as usual.

If you are the spouse of a U.S. Armed Forces servicemember stationed in Michigan, you can claim an exemption from withholding if you are not a resident of Michigan and are only in the state to be with your spouse.

No. Form MI-W4 is Michigan’s state-level employee withholding form. IRS Form W-4 is the federal income tax withholding form. If you live and work in Michigan, you may need to fill out both forms.

If you claim zero exemptions on your MI-W4, your employer will withhold the highest amount possible from your pay. This can potentially result in over-withholding and a higher tax return.

The maximum number of exemptions you can claim on a Form MI-W4 depends on the number of exemptions listed on Line 9 of your Form MI-1040.

Yes. Failing to submit your MI-W4 will cause your employer to withhold taxes as if you claimed zero exemptions.