Federal Tax Calculator
How we got here?
How is my taxable income calculated?
First, you start with your total income. But that’s not what gets slotted into one of the federal tax brackets. No, those rates get applied to your taxable income. So how is that calculated?
First, subtract any expenses or payments you made during the year that aren’t taxable, such as contributions to a traditional IRA or alimony payments. This gets you your adjusted gross income (AGI).
From there, subtract any exemptions you’re allowed and deductions you have. This gets you to the amount on which you’ll pay tax — your taxable income.
What sort of expenses can I deduct?
The list of available deductions is long, and the rules surrounding them can be complex. Still, here is a list of some popular ones — if any apply to you but you overlooked them the first time through this calculator, you can go back and adjust your numbers.
- Taxes you’ve paid (state and local income or sales)
- Interest you’ve paid on a mortgage
- Gifts to qualified charities
- Business expenses, such as those for a home office; educational opportunities you took that relate to your job; equipment or supplies, including uniforms, you purchased yourself that are essential to your job; professional dues or fees you paid; certain travel or transportation expenses.
- Medical expenses. There are legion here, but the important thing to note is, if you pay your premiums out of your own pocket, your deduction is limited to the expenses that exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (7.5% if you’re 65 or older)
What tax credits can I qualify for?
Some of the most popular tax credits are enjoyed by those who fall into one of three categories:
- People with kids might qualify for the child tax credit, the child and dependent care credit, the earned income credit, or the adoption credit.
- People investing in their education or retirement might qualify for the saver’s credit, the American Opportunity credit, or the Lifetime Learning credit.
- People who made a big “green” purchase might qualify for residential energy tax credits or the plug-in electric-drive motor vehicle credit.
Your state might offer its own batch of tax credits as well.
Can I use this to estimate my refund?
Sure. Whether you receive a refund generally depends on whether your tax bill is more or less than the taxes you paid or had withheld over the course of the year. If you paid more than your bill, you get a refund from the IRS; if you paid less, you’ll owe.
If you know how much in taxes you’re paid or had withheld, you can return to the calculator, enter that information and get a rough sense of your standing.
What's next? Pick the best tax software
We built a tool, based on our deep research, that compares packages from all the top providers and lets you find the best software for your needs.