How to Calculate Approximate Tax Return

by Tiffany Raiford ; Updated April 19, 2017
Calculating your tax liability early allows you to avoid surprises during tax season.

April 15 is an important day, but it’s likely not a day that you generally look forward to -- unless, of course, you are a tax professional or accountant. You can calculate an approximation of your return using basic information such as your projected income, filing status, dependents, exemptions, credits and deductions to garner an idea of what your income tax situation looks like for the current tax year. You can also calculate the amount of your tax liability manually if you choose, but the Internet provides efficient methods designed to calculate your income taxes for the year.

Step 1

Use an online website to figure out your approximate tax liability. These online calculators are available through the Internal Revenue Service and other online tax preparation companies. Calculating your return will give you an approximate idea of whether to expect a refund when you get around to filing your income taxes.

Step 2

Gather your basic tax information; use your tax information from the prior year if your income situation hasn’t changed drastically over the course of the year. This is helpful in determining your income tax liability as you can expect the same type of return if your tax situation hasn’t changed.

Step 3

Provide the information required to calculate your approximate tax liability. Information needed includes your filing status, dependent and exemption information, income information and any information regarding tax credits and deductions you are eligible to take.

Step 4

Enter all of the information in the tax calculator and submit your information. The tax calculator then provides you with an overview of what to expect your income tax return to look like once you file. This is not an exact replica of your return, but rather an estimate, which means filing your tax return using the exact information you receive in the mail at the end of the tax year will change your return slightly, or even drastically, if you left out or added additional information.

About the Author

Tiffany Raiford has several years of experience writing freelance. Her writing focuses primarily on articles relating to parenting, pregnancy and travel. Raiford is a graduate of Saint Petersburg College in Florida.

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