When the year is coming to a close, it will be time for you to look at your earnings for the year and see what your tax return might look like.
With a host of products available online, we wanted to spotlight the TurboTax “TaxCaster” free online tax calculator in this review to give you an idea of the tax estimates and data you can obtain.
Intuit has been adding more and more free tools to its TurboTax website, and the Taxcaster tax refund calculator has us pretty impressed.
TurboTax TaxCaster Review
When you first browse to the TaxCaster page, you are greeted with a helpful landing page and an open canvas approach. It looks great on both a desktop and a mobile phone. The application is free to use, and you start by entering some basic tax data such as marital status, income, and withholdings. Then, the screen updates in real-time and guides you through the process.
As mentioned, the first impression of the TaxCaster is impressive. The interface is very fast and easy to use. However, one of the aspects of using the calculator is that you need some basic information on your tax situation fairly early in the process. Therefore, we recommend grabbing a copy of your most recent pay stub and any other tracking documents you have available for the tax calculator, so you will have the information you will need.
For individuals that have more complex tax situations, there are some options within the TaxCaster. For example, if you own a home, there is a module for the mortgage tax deduction, and for filers with children, there is an option for the child tax credit.
As you use the tool, the beauty of the TurboTax online tax calculator is that it continues to compile your information in real-time on the screen. After about 5 minutes of quick entry, we gleaned a reasonably accurate picture of what our tax filing situation was going to look like.
How Your Taxes are Calculated
The calculations behind the TurboTax TaxCaster are all based on general accounting principles and the rules and laws set forth by the Internal Revenue Service (www.irs.gov).
The key components for calculating your taxes include:
- How much total income your w2 form shows for the year, including wages, investments, side-jobs, and more.
- Once you calculate your total income, you can determine your tax bracket, which is published annually by the IRS through its website.
- To adjust your total income and tax bracket, you can utilize various functions such as tax deductions and tax credits, which often lower the total taxes due.
Online Tax Calculators: The Final Word
Online tools, such as the TurboTax TaxCaster, are a great starting point to see how much you might owe the IRS and the potential tax refund you might receive. The more variables involved in filing your taxes, the more complex the process can be.
Understanding these basic principles is a vital part of managing your finances.