Top 6 Best Tax Refund Calculators to Calculate Tax Refund | 2017 Ranking | IRA Tax Refund Estimators
2017 RANKING & REVIEWS
THE BEST TAX REFUND CALCULATORS
2017 Best Tax Refund Calculators: Where to Find the Best Tax Refund Calculator
Tax season is infamous for bringing added paperwork, potential debts, strict deadlines, and of course, stress.
For some, tax returns tend to stay the same. For the truly lucky ones, tax season comes with high dollar amounts deposited back into bank accounts.
However, for those who face additional complications—like fluctuating finances, relocation, self-employment, multiple investments, or dependents—tax season can certainly be stressful.
It’s difficult to determine how much you will be getting back—or how much you will owe—until forms are officially filed. A great way to eliminate stress is to estimate tax returns early on with a tax refund estimator calculator.
Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Tax Refund Calculators
Tax refund calculators provide the opportunity to plan ahead for tax season. Thus, before making a tax season purchase or loan—or simply before beginning the filing process—it may be worthwhile to use a tax refund calculator.
Our review will focus on reviewing the best ways to calculate tax refund amounts by using a free tax refund estimator.
By taking an in-depth look at each federal tax refund calculator, consumers will be well-equipped for finding the best tax refund calculator to prepare themselves for tax season.
AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Tools to Calculate Tax Refund Amounts
List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the tax refund calculators below to go directly to the detailed review section for that tax refund calculator):
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Top 6 Best Tax Refund Calculator Tools | Brief Comparison & Ranking
Federal Tax Calculator
Federal Tax Return Calculator & Estimator
Liberty Tax Service
Free Tax Calculator
Tax Calculator (H&R Block)
Tax Calculator (TaxAct)
Table: Top 6 Best Tax Refund Calculators | Above list is sorted alphabetically
Tax Changes to Know Before Using a Tax Refund Calculator
Before using an IRS refund calculator, there are a few important tax changes to be aware of. Any tax refund calculator you use should take the following updates into account:
- Tax brackets are adjusted for inflation: This is perhaps the most significant change, though adjustments are minimal. The full listing of tax bracket adjustments shows changes through each bracket. For example, a single filer can now make up to $91,150 and remain inside the 25% tax bracket. For 2015, the limit was $90,750. Current methods to calculate tax refund amounts will take these changes into consideration.
- Increased Earned Income Tax Credit: Eligibility for the EITC will be easier, as the limits have increased. Though incremental, low-income individuals and families may find it easier to qualify for this credit. While not every IRS tax refund estimator will tell you if you qualify for this credit, the IRS website does provide a clear representation of eligibility. For those who may now qualify for this credit, keep in mind that any tax return with claims for the EITC will not be disbursed before February 15.
- Wider brackets for estate taxes: Exclusion amounts for estate taxes will also be adjusted. Estate taxes at or less than $5.45 million will be exempt, compared to last year’s $5.43 million. Although a free tax refund calculator probably won’t leave space for estate taxes, understanding this change may prove beneficial once tax season arrives.
Required Information for an Online Tax Refund Calculator
Each tax refund calculator has different areas of focus. Thus, one IRS tax refund estimator may not require the same information that another IRS refund calculator will.
Still, when considering using an online tax refund calculator to calculate tax refund amounts, you’ll need to make sure you have some basic information on hand.
Before using a tax refund calculator, have this information ready:
- Tax documents: W-2 or paystub, including any relevant investment or property documents.
- Income information: Salary, tips, stocks, pensions.
- Adjustments: Includes HAS contributions, student loan interest paid, etc.
- Deductions: Charitable gifts, mortgage interest, medical expenses, etc. If you don’t qualify for any of these, the will have an option to choose an estimated standard deduction.
- Tax credits: Includes child care and education credits. Not every tax refund calculator will use these credits to calculate tax refund, although it does create a more accurate estimate.
When using an online tax refund calculator, it’s important to keep in mind that a free tax refund estimator is not a definitive means to calculate tax refund amounts. A federal tax refund calculator simply provides an estimate to guide taxpayers in the right direction.
The only way to definitively calculate tax refund amounts is by officially filing taxes, not by using a refund tax calculator.
Still, the ability to financially plan is worthwhile, and an estimated tax refund calculator allows for just that.
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Detailed Review—Top-Ranking Best Online Tax Refund Calculator Tools
Below, please find a detailed review of each credit card on our list of tools to calculate tax refund amounts. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these free tax refund estimator tools to score so high in our selection ranking.
Federal Tax Calculator Review
1040.com has been in the business of making tax preparation software since 1977. Their goal is to make self-filing and tax preparation simple, efficient, and worthwhile.
The Federal Tax Calculator is available either as a free online tax refund calculator or through mobile app.
This free tax refund calculator takes users through four different categories: taxpayer, income, deductions, and credits.
- Taxpayer: Fill in information for any dependents.
- Income: Use your W-2 and 1099 to enter income information.
- Deductions: Income adjustments for additional expenses, taxes, and interest.
- Credits: Childcare, 401k contributions, etc.
After all information has been entered into the tax refund calculator, it will calculate tax refund amounts. This includes total taxable income and taxes paid throughout the year.
Not only is this federal tax refund calculator available for free, but it is also an incredibly user-friendly online tax refund calculator. Each section can easily be navigated through without resetting the free tax refund calculator.
Another great aspect of this free tax refund estimator is that it allows for a wide range of inputted data.
Sometimes, a tax refund calculator will use the bare minimum to calculate tax refund results, but 1040.com creates a much more comprehensive analysis.
In addition to providing an IRS tax refund estimator tool, 1040.com also provides taxpayers with a comprehensive guide to understand the filing process.
Federal Tax Return Calculator & Estimator Review
A well-known entity in tax preparation, Liberty Tax offers more than 4,000 national locations and a speedy, dependable online process for filing taxes.
This includes their Federal Tax Return Calculator & Estimator, made to assist taxpayers before beginning the filing process as a tax refund estimator calculator.
This tax refund estimator calculator is perhaps one of the most detailed tax refund calculators available. The tax refund calculator is split into six different pages, with multiple subheadings on each page. A quick outline of the Federal Tax Return Calculator & Estimator includes:
- Page 1: Filing status, dependents, health coverage, Earned Income Credit eligibility.
- Page 2: Salaries, dividends, capital gains, IRA, unemployment, Social Security.
- Page 3: Adjustments for HSA, alimony, student loans, moving expenses.
- Page 4: Deductions for medical, mortgage interest, real estate, and charity.
- Page 5: Credits for educational expenses and child care.
- Page 6: Refer to W-2 for information on taxes withheld.
Finally, this online tax refund calculator will provide estimated results with a calculation summary for easy viewing of each category.
This tax refund calculator from Liberty Tax is an incredibly thorough tool to calculate tax refund amounts. It includes many categories that are left out in a simple refund tax calculator, like variated adjustments and deductions.
By including a separate EITC section, this estimated tax refund calculator also makes it easy to determine eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
With wider thresholds for the EITC, this tax refund calculator could be a valuable tool for low-income families to calculate tax refund amounts.
Free Tax Calculator Review
As a tax preparation tool, TaxSlayer offers much more than an online tax refund calculator. Users can prepare and e-file taxes from any device, which includes free online and phone support.
While the filing process may not be free, preparation through the Free Tax Calculator certainly is, making it a worthwhile option to calculate tax refund before e-filing.
This online tax refund calculator splits data into five different categories. Some categories are simpler than others, but the basic process includes:
After completion, this tax refund estimator calculator shows a rough estimate for a refund and offers quick filing.
As a simple, easy-to-use tax refund calculator, this is a great option. For those who don’t have a long list of deductions, the ability to defer to a standard deduction makes using an online tax refund calculator much less complicated.
If users like using TaxSlayer to calculate tax refund amounts, federal e-filing can be completed free of charge through the website (state e-filing is available for an additional fee).
For users who want additional information on tax laws, changes, and advice, an online database offers supplemental materials as a guide throughout the filing process.
Tax Calculator Review (H&R Block) Review
H&R Block is nationally recognized as an expert provider of tax filing services. In fact, estimates put at least one H&R Block location within five miles of nearly every American.
For those who prefer to file taxes online, however, their Tax Calculator is a great option for an online tax refund calculator. Backed by a trusted name in tax preparation, users can calculate tax refund amounts free of charge by using this IRS refund calculator.
H&R Block makes their estimated tax refund calculator as simple as possible, boiling down the process to three essential steps. These include:
- About You: Filing status, dependents, age.
- Income: Employment, unemployment, capital gains, royalties, investments, etc.
- Expenses: Donations, mortgages, child care, etc.
Final results can be saved or printed, including a full report of all data.
This tax refund calculator is a prime option due to its simplicity, ease of use, and aesthetic design. One of the most appealing aspects comes from the use of graphics.
With so much numerical data, using an estimated tax refund calculator can quickly become overwhelming and frustrating. Integrating graphics help break up the monotony and makes for a much more visually appealing tax refund calculator.
As a supplement, H&R Block also offers ways to calculate tax refund impact from the Affordable Health Care Act Tax Calculator. This makes H&R Block into one of the most versatile sources of tax refund calculators.
Founded in 1998, the TaxAct program is structured for ease of use and accessibility for those who prefer to e-file their tax returns.
For those considering e-filing this year, the Tax Calculator is a free tax refund calculator and is a great way to evaluate TaxAct’s online software free of charge.
This IRS refund calculator splits data into four different categories:
- Basic Info: Age, filing status, dependents.
- Income: Wages from employment, unemployment, interest, and withheld taxes.
- Deductions: IRA contributions, student loan interest, medical expenses, etc.
- Credits: Childcare, energy, education.
In final results, the tax refund calculator shows two itemized lists of elements that contribute to taxable income and refund amount.
While the Tax Calculator from TaxAct may not be as visually appealing compared to other tax refund calculators, its efficiency makes it a top-rated online tax refund calculator.
Basic and specific data is combined in simple, readily understandable terms. As an easy and efficient tax refund calculator, this is a great choice to consider.
As an additional benefit, not only is the refund tax calculator free, but e-filing through TaxAct is also free for simple federal and state returns.
With step-by-step instructions and interactive software, Turbo Tax is one of the leading providers of tax filing software.
For those who want to experience the process of filing through Turbo Tax (without paying service fees), their TaxCaster tax refund calculator is one of the best tools to calculate tax refund amounts.
This online tax refund calculator is structured a little differently. Rather than create separate tabs or sections for each tax category, users are walked through a series of interactive charts to progressively calculate tax refund amounts.
Answers are immediately calculated and continuously updated at the bottom of the tax refund calculator. This includes three separate categories:
At any time throughout the free tax refund estimator process, users can access an itemized list of each contributing factor for final estimations.
Turbo Tax offers incredibly user-friendly, interactive tax preparation software, including their free online tax refund calculator.
With colorful and descriptive graphics, entering tax information is much less complicated.
Perhaps the best aspect of this tax refund calculator is its ability to calculate refund amounts through each step. Users can easily and quickly see how each piece of data affects overall return, making for an interactive and educational process.
Conclusion—Top 6 Tax Refund Calculator Tools
Although tax season might never be a favorite time of year, using a tax refund calculator can certainly help ease the process.
As a financial tool, an online tax refund calculator can provide valuable guidance when preparing for tax season. This is particularly true when considering various changes to tax laws and variables like investments, deductions, and credit.
When looking for the best way to calculate tax refund amounts, using a top-rated tax refund calculator is an excellent starting point. Organization, motivation, and clarity are all crucial components for preparation. The best tax refund calculator will offer all three.
By using an IRS refund calculator to calculate tax refund amounts, taxpayers can get a head start on their finances, fully preparing themselves to face tax season head-on.
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