How To Estimate Your Tax Refund With These 7 Easy-To-Use Tools
Tax season has already kicked off and, like many Americans, you're probably hoping for a refund after you file your return. If you're planning ahead and want to get a sense of what your refund might look like before you complete your taxes, there are lots of tools to estimate your tax refund. The list below shares some of the many websites you can visit to get a quick glimpse into how your 2018 return may pan out.
The IRS began accepting 2018 tax returns on Jan. 28. Notably, as CNBC reported, filings for this tax season include tax code changes mandated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which became law in December 2017. It's possible that these changes could impact your refund, depending on your income and filing status. In fact, CNN reported that, so far, IRS data reveals that 2018 refunds are averaging around $1,865, compared to $2,035 for the 2017 tax year. However, the outlet also noted that fewer people have filed early returns this year.
If you want to get a head start and see what your refund might look like, you simply need to have any applicable income reporting documents (like your W-2, 1099 forms, etc.) on hand so you can fill out relevant information. Most of the tools below take less than five minutes to use. Even more importantly, they're all free of charge. So, if you'd like to get a sense of where your taxes stand, there's a quick and easy way to get multiple estimates of your refund.
The tax preparation company's free income tax calculator indicates that it will "help you easily estimate your tax refund or how much you'll owe, plus the impact of tax reform on you." The tool asks that you fill out three brief sections of questions — About You, Income, and Expenses — in order to receive your estimate.
NerdWallet, a personal finance company, offers a tax estimation tool that asks you to provide your income, deductions, and credits. Each section of its questionnaire offers a helpful explanation of required information.
Online tax preparation company eFile.com's tax return estimate tool requests a few more details for those looking to get some in-depth insight from their return estimate. Namely, the tool asks fairly extensive questions about deductions, credits, and taxes, though it still only takes about five minutes to use.
TurboTax, a tax software company, has a quick and straightforward program called TaxCaster to estimate your refund. TaxCaster asks just a few short questions and then quickly returns a refund estimate.
Digital tax preparation company TaxAct's 2018 tax calculator offers another way to estimate your tax refund. The company's tool asks you to provide some specific details about deductions and credits but doesn't request an extensive amount of information.
TaxSlayer, a Georgia-based tax preparation company, offers a simple and visually-appealing tool with which to calculate your estimated refund. Notably, the tool also gives you insight into whether your estimated refund is higher or lower than it would've been without the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Liberty Tax, a tax return preparation company, also offers a comprehensive tax estimation calculator. This tool provides an option to print a breakdown of your estimated refund once you complete the form.
These seven tools should offer you some guidance when it comes to getting an idea of how much of a refund (or tax bill) you can expect as you file your taxes. Remember, you can now file your taxes any time up through April 15. So, if you want to get your return out of the way — and get a potential refund sooner — make sure to submit your taxes ASAP.