Given the variety of free tax calculators available online, it's easy to estimate how much you will receive from taxes withheld. This will help you plan how to spend your refund or budget for tax money that you might owe. Have helpful tax information on hand, such as your salary, total federal tax withheld and mortgage interest payments.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
You can use an online calculator from websites like TurboTax and H&R Block to estimate your tax refund based on information such as your income, withheld taxes and expected deductions and credits.
Choosing a Source
To get started, you'll need to choose a software program to help you calculate your taxes. There are many choices, but some of the most popular are TurboTax, H&R Block and Efile.com. You may want to spend a little time researching to learn about tax credits that you can benefit from. It's also helpful to hire an accountant to be sure you're not missing out on any deductions.
Using TurboTax's Calculator
If TurboTax is your platform of choice, choose "Tools & Tips-Tax Calculators" from TurboTax's main page. Click on "Get Started" and provide information about your filing status. If you're single, enter your age at the end of the year. If you're married, indicate whether you are filing jointly and enter your age and your spouse's age at the end of the year.
Enter your income and your spouse's income, if applicable. Include information about wages, total federal tax withheld and total state tax withheld. Enter the amount of additional household income, such as money from investments or pensions. If you own a business, enter the net income/loss.
Enter information about potential deductions, tax credits and payments. Provide information about the number of dependents in your family, their ages, childcare expenses, tuition costs and total student loan interest. If you're a homeowner, submit your mortgage interest payments and real estate tax payments. Enter donations you've made and additional deductions, such as medical expenses or alimony paid. Review the calculator's estimated results, which includes how much money you will receive or owe in taxes.
Using H&R Block's Calculator
Choose "Tax Information and Tools" from the menu on H&R Block's home page. Halfway down the page, you'll see the link for the tax calculator. Enter your filing status, age at the end of the year and the year's total wages. Provide information about your spouse's age, if applicable, and the number of dependents you plan to claim; include their ages.
Provide data on the amount of federal tax income withheld as well as your spouse's total annual income and the amount of federal tax income withheld. Enter your expenses for the year, including state taxes, mortgage interest, charitable donations, child care expenses, tuition costs and student loan interest. Review the calculator's estimated results, which includes how much money you will receive or owe in taxes.
Using eFile's Calculator
On eFile's site, choose the current year's tax calculator from the "Tax Calculators" drop-down menu at the top of the screen. Provide information about your filing status, exemptions that you and/or your spouse can claim and the number of dependents in your family. Enter income information, including annual wages, capital gains and losses, business and real estate income and taxable credits.
Provide information about your personal deductions, including real estate taxes and interest paid, gifts to charity, alimony paid and other deductions. Enter federal tax income withheld, estimated tax payments and overpayments for the year, earned income credit, excess Social Security tax withheld and additional child tax credit. Review your tax information, which includes an estimate of how much money you will receive or owe in taxes, your tax bracket and your effective tax rate.
- Learn about tax credits that you can benefit from. It's also helpful to hire an accountant to be sure you're not missing out on any deductions.
- These tax calculators provide an estimate of how much you will receive back in taxes. For an exact number, file your taxes or hire an accountant to do so.
Renee Morad is a writer based in New Jersey. Her work has been published in "Smart Money Magazine," "Self Magazine," "The New York Times," Xfinity.com and other publications.