How to Accurately Complete the DE 4 Form – A Step-by-Step Guide

Updated on February 6, 2024

At a Glance

  • The DE 4 form is crucial for employers in California, as it reports employee wages and withholdings.
  • Corporations, LLCs, partnerships, nonprofits, small business owners, household employers, and government and public agencies must file the DE 4 form.
  • The DE 4 form requires detailed information, including reporting period, account number, business information, employee wage data, number of employees, and total wages, taxes, and contributions.
  • Common mistakes to avoid include forgetting to sign and date the certification, reporting for the wrong quarter, misplacing wage data in incorrect columns, reporting inaccurate or incomplete employee withholdings, and failing to correctly total across all sections.

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) DE 4 form is crucial for employers in California, as it reports employee wages and withholdings. This form, submitted quarterly, allows the EDD to accurately track wages, tax payments, and benefits eligibility for workers within the state. Proper completion and timely submission are essential to avoid penalties, fines, and compliance issues. Here’s a detailed guide on how to fill out the DE 4 form correctly.

Who Must File the DE 4

The DE 4 form must be filed by:

  • Corporations, LLCs, partnerships, and nonprofits
  • Small business owners
  • Household employers
  • Government and public agencies

This requirement applies to all entities with W-2 employees. Independent contractors use different forms for reporting.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Section 1: Report Information

  • Reporting period: Indicate the quarter for which wages are being reported.
  • Account number: Your specific EDD account number.
  • Business information: Provide your legal name, address, and Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).
  • Type of Ownership: Specify the nature of your business’s legal structure.

Ensure all employer details are current and accurate.

Section 2: Employee Wage Data

This section requires detailed information on each employee, including:

  • Employee’s full Social Security Number.
  • Last name, first name, middle initial.
  • Total gross wages paid within the quarter.
  • Any special compensation (e.g., bonuses, overtime).
  • California taxable wages.
  • California personal income tax withheld.
  • Retirement plan deductions.
  • California SDI contribution amounts.
  • Excess Social Security tax withheld.

Carefully tabulate and total all fields.

Section 3: Number of Employees

Enter the total number of employees reported in Section 2.

Section 4: Total Wages, Taxes, and Contributions

Summarize the totals for:

  • Total gross wages.
  • Total taxable wages.
  • Total SDI contributions withheld.
  • Total PIT contributions withheld.
  • Any excess social security tax from Section 2.

If you’re completing the form electronically, it will automatically calculate the totals.

Section 5: Signature

The form must be signed by an owner or authorized representative, certifying the accuracy of the reported data.

Common Mistakes

Avoid these common errors:

  • Forgetting to sign and date the certification.
  • Reporting for the wrong quarter or using an outdated form.
  • Misplacing wage data in incorrect columns.
  • Reporting inaccurate or incomplete employee withholdings.
  • Failing to correctly total across all sections.

Double-check your entries and calculations before submission to ensure accuracy and compliance.

Final Thoughts

Filling out the DE 4 form accurately is paramount for California employers to maintain compliance and avoid penalties. By following these step-by-step instructions and paying close attention to detail, employers can ensure that they meet their reporting obligations efficiently and correctly. Always use the most current form version available from the EDD website and verify all information before submitting to ensure accuracy and avoid common mistakes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the DE 4 form used for?

The DE 4 form is used by employers in California to report employee wages, tax payments, and benefits eligibility to the California Employment Development Department (EDD).

Who is required to fill out the DE 4 form?

Corporations, LLCs, partnerships, nonprofits, small business owners, household employers, and government and public agencies are all required to fill out the DE 4 form if they have W-2 employees.

How often do I need to submit the DE 4 form?

The DE 4 form should be submitted quarterly to the EDD.

What information do I need to fill out the DE 4 form?

You will need detailed information about your business and each of your employees, including their Social Security numbers, names, total gross wages paid within the quarter, and any special compensation or deductions.

How do I calculate the total gross wages?

Total gross wages are the sum of all wages, salaries, and other earnings you paid to your employees during the quarter, before any deductions.

What if my business has no employees?

If your business has no employees, you generally do not need to submit the DE 4 form. However, you should check with the EDD or a tax professional to confirm.

What if I make a mistake on the DE 4 form?

If you make a mistake on the DE 4 form, you should contact the EDD as soon as possible to correct it. In some cases, you may need to submit an amended form.

How can I avoid common mistakes when filling out the DE 4 form?

You can avoid common mistakes by carefully reviewing your entries and calculations before submitting the form, ensuring that all information is accurate and complete, and using the most current version of the form.

What happens if I don’t submit the DE 4 form on time?

If you don’t submit the DE 4 form on time, you may be subject to penalties and fines from the EDD.

Where can I get a copy of the DE 4 form?

You can get a copy of the DE 4 form from the EDD website.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.