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Tax Return Calculator

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Use SmartAsset's Tax Return Calculator see how your income, withholdings, deductions and credits impact your 2017 tax refund or balance due amount.

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Adjust your federal withholdings to see if you will receive a tax refund. If you paid more than your tax bill, you get a refund from the IRS; if you paid less, you’ll owe the IRS money.


Your Tax Return Breakdown
Total Income
Adjustments
Total Deductions
Total Exemptions
Taxable Income
Effective Tax Rate:

Regular Taxes Owed
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Additional Taxes
Tax Credit
Taxes Paid
Refund Due
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Tax Return Estimator

Photo credit: © iStock/DNY59

Whether you save it for retirement, use it to pay down credit card debt or spend it immediately, a tax refund can be a great financial boost. Many Americans depend on their tax refund as an important part of their annual budget. If you want to know how big your refund will be this year you’ll be well served by our free tax refund estimator.

How to Calculate Your Tax Refund

Every year when you file your income taxes three things can happen. You can learn that you owe the IRS money, that you don’t owe the IRS money and they don’t owe you money, or that the IRS owes you money. If the IRS owes you money it will come in the form of a tax refund. Our tax return estimator can help you figure out how much money could be coming your way.

Why would the IRS owe you a tax refund? There are several possible scenarios. You might have overpaid your estimated taxes or had too much withheld from your paycheck at work. You might qualify for so many tax deductions and tax credits that you eliminate your tax liability and are eligible for a refund. A tax return calculator takes all this into account to show you whether you can expect a refund or not, and give you an estimate of how much to expect.

Tax Deductions and Tax Credits Explained

Remember that a tax deduction reduces your taxable income, cutting your tax bill indirectly by reducing the income that's subject to a marginal tax rate. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar discount on your tax bill. So, if you owe $1,000 but qualify for a $500 tax credit your tax bill goes down to $500.

What if you’re eligible for tax credits that are greater than what you owe – say, $1,000 in tax credits with a $500 liability? Whether you get that $500 difference refunded to you will depend on whether the tax credits you qualify are refundable or not. Our tax return calculator will take all of this into account when figuring out what you can expect at tax time. Learn more about tax credits vs tax deductions.

Some tax credits are non-refundable, which means they have the power to reduce your tax liability but can’t be refunded to you if they exceed your liability. Refundable tax credits, as you’ve probably figured out by now, go into your tax refund if they exceed what you owe. A tax return calculator will take all of this into account when figuring out what you can expect at tax time.

Understanding Your Tax Refund Results

Photo credit: © iStock/DNY59

Our tax refund estimator will accurately calculate your refund and know which credits are refundable and which are non-refundable. Because tax rules change from year to year, your tax refund might change even if your salary and deductions don’t change. In other words, you might get different results from tax refund calculator 2017 than you did from tax refund calculator 2016. If your income changes or you change something about the way you do your taxes (for example, you decide to itemize your deductions rather than taking the Standard Deduction or you adjust the tax withholding for your paychecks), it’s a good idea to take another look at your income tax return calculator of choice.

You can use our free income tax calculator to figure out your tax liability but an income tax refund calculator will tell you how much to expect in your bank account (or mail box, if you’re old school) when it’s time for a refund. Doing your taxes through a tax software or an accountant will ultimately be the only way to see your true tax refund and liability.

How to Track Your Tax Refund

Photo credit: © iStock/DNY59

The preferred method for getting your tax refund is direct deposit. When you fill out your income tax return you’ll be prompted to give your bank account details. That way, the IRS can put your refund money right in your account. You won’t have to wait for a check in the mail and then deposit it, either in a bank, on your mobile phone or at a check-cashing business.

If you file your taxes early, you don’t have to wait until after the tax deadline to get your tax refund. Depending on the complexity of your tax return, you could get your tax refund in just a couple of weeks. An income tax refund estimator generally won’t tell you when you can expect to get your return. For that information, you can go to www.irs.gov/refunds. You can check the status of your refund within 24 hours after the IRS notifies you that it has received your e-filed tax return (or four weeks after mailing your paper return, if you’re old school).

In a given tax year, you may want to know how big your refund will be so you can plan what to do with it. The government makes it easy to opt to save your refund when you file your taxes, but you may decide you want the money to hit your bank account so you can make an extra student loan or mortgage payment. In, say, January you could turn to a tax return calculator to see what you’re likely to get in your refund check. That amount may be different from what you saw when you searched “tax estimator 2016” the previous year.

The Bottom Line on Tax Return Calculators

An accurate income tax return estimator can keep you from banking on a refund that’s bigger in your mind than the real refund that hits your bank account. Unless you’re a tax accountant and/or you follow tax law obsessively it’s easy to be surprised by changes in your refund from year to year. Use the tool ahead of time so you aren’t already spending money (in your head or in real life!) you may never see. You can also run the numbers through a tax refund calculator earlier in the year to see if you want or need to make any changes to your withholdings so you either get a bigger return or get more money per paycheck.

Places With the Highest Tax Refunds and Places that Owe the Most

SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the counties that receive the highest tax refunds, as well as the counties that owe the most in taxes. Scroll over any county in the state to learn about tax returns in that specific area.

Least
Most
Rank County Number of Taxpayers that Receive Refunds Average Tax Amount Refunded Number of Taxpayers that Owe Taxes Average Tax Amount Owed

Methodology Each tax season, millions of U.S. taxpayers are issued refunds of the amount they overpaid that tax year. However, some taxpayers end up owing money to the IRS after filing their taxes. SmartAsset analyzed data from the IRS to determine the counties that received the highest refunds and the counties that owed the most after filing their taxes.

To determine the counties that received the highest refunds, we divided the total refund amount by the number of refunds in each county. We did the same to calculate the average amount owed, by dividing the total taxes owed in each county, by the number of filers that still owe taxes.

We then ranked each county to determine who receives the highest refund and who pays the most after filing their taxes.

Sources: IRS