American Tax Service

Helping Americans File Their Taxes


How to Figure Out How Much Your Tax Refund Will Be

figure how much is my tax refund?

Are you trying to figure out how much your tax refund will be from the IRS this coming season?

While there’s a few ways to tell, you can get a pretty accurate estimate by using an online tax refund calculator.

By getting a rough idea of the size of your tax refund, you can start making plans as to how you’ll spend that tax refund.

Where to Find a Tax Refund Calculator

Tax refund calculators are available from most major tax preparation services, allowing you to estimate your tax refund for free.

Just enter your filing status, your age at the end of the tax year, and some information about how many dependents you’ll be claiming on your return.

Gather Your Personal Information

You’ll need to know whether you’ll be claiming any dependents on your tax return, how much you earn per year, and how much will be withheld in taxes.

Most important of all, though, is your filing status. The tax brackets change based on whether you’re filing as a single taxpayer, married but filing jointly, or married but filing separately.

Enter Your Financial Details

Begin by entering how much you’ll expect to earn in total for this tax year. Then you’ll be able to estimate your taxes for the end of the year.

If you have a more complex financial situation, you’ll need to start adding income from other sources. For example, maybe you earn interest from your bank, or you have stocks that pay out dividends.

Add Any Tax Deductions

It’s now time to make an estimate of your tax-deductible items for the year. This could include things like state taxes, charitable donations, interest on your mortgage, and property taxes. You may also have childcare expenses or job expenses you can deduct from your taxes this year.

Enter this information and let the calculator do its work and you’ll get a good idea as to how much you may receive at the end of the tax year.


IRS Tax Forms You May Need to File

If you are planning to paper file, you should know that the IRS no longer sends your paper tax packages in the mail.

1040 tax form

If you file your taxes online, you will find that it is super easy when it comes to getting the right tax form.

This is because the online tax software automatically selects the form that is the best fit for your unique tax situation.

Alternatively, you can order the forms and have them sent to you in the mail by calling the IRS, 1-800-TAX-FORM. Lastly, you have the option of going to your local IRS office, library, or post office to pick up the forms in person.

Tips for Selecting the IRS Tax Form You Need to File

1040 EZ Tax Form

  • You can use this tax form if you taxable income is lower than $100,000, you are filing single or married filing jointly, you are not claiming any dependents, and your income from interest is below $1500.

1040A Tax Form

  • You can use this form when you cannot use the 1040EZ form if your taxable income is less than $100000, you have capital gain distributions, you have certain tax credits that you are eligible to claim, and you need to claim adjustments to your income for IRA contributions and student loan interest.

1040 Tax Form

  • If you cannot use either of the previous forms, you have to go with the 1040 if your income is over $100000, you are itemizing your deductions, you are claiming self-employment income, and you have income to report from the sale of a property.

If you are still confused about which form you need to file, see IRS Publication 17.

Using Online Tax Filing to Get Your Tax Forms

Today’s online tax filing eliminates the need for you to know which 1040 tax form to use. You might also be able to get your W2 form electronically and start filing right away.

The H&R Block software will ask you simple questions relevant to your tax situation, put your information of the proper forms, and give you the credits and deductions that you are entitled to for the largest refund ever. Additionally, you can access a free tax calculator to check your refund amount.

How to File Taxes Online Using TurboTax

When you file with TurboTax Online Online they will search over 350 tax deductions and credits to find every tax break you qualify for so you get your maximum refund.


Tax Credits for Solar Energy

One of the most valuable tax credits available to homes and businesses is the solar energy tax credit. It’s a tax credit that applies to solar-powered hot water and panel systems. It’s worth up to 30% of the total cost of purchase and installation.

At the end of the year 2015, Congress extended this credit for four years. That means it’s currently possible for you to claim the solar tax credit until the end of 2019 in its current form. It will gradually phase out until 2022 when homeowners can no longer claim it, and it’s only worth 10% to businesses.

Like with other improvements, there are also tax credits in your State, and cash rebates.

Are There Any Other Rewards for Energy Efficiency Upgrades?

Your local utility may also offer a financial incentive for becoming more energy-efficient. Utilities may provide you with rebates when you make energy efficient purchases, such as building materials, electronics, pool pumps, water heaters, and appliances.

Many of these rebates are provided immediately after purchase. Others are only provided when you can prove that the installation has been completed.

Rebates can be as low as $10 for energy efficient lightbulbs to more than $1,000 for larger pieces of equipment.

Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency

As of the 2018 tax year, the federal government offers the Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit. The credits are good through 2019 and then are reduced each year through the end of 2021.

A lot of states continue to offer tax credits when you upgrade your home with new energy efficiency installations. These tend to come in the form of property tax exemptions when you purchase or install certain types of equipment.

How to Claim the Solar Energy Tax Credits

We recommend filing your taxes online this tax season because of all of the tax benefits that you will receive. Online tax filing asks you simple questions to fill in the proper forms and will help you claim the energy tax credits that you qualify for, and you will get the largest refund possible.

You never have to know the tax laws or access tax tables during the filing process!

They even have a free tax refund calculator available that allows you to know the amount of money that you will be getting back in your tax refund.

Their online filing services have the ability to import your W2 information into your tax return so you can avoid worrying about your forms being delivered via snail mail.

You can visit the Department of Energy’s website for a full database of different credits and rebates.


What is EIC/EITC and Who Qualifies?

The EIC/EITC is known as the Earned Income Tax Credit. This tax credit is available for those who have a low or moderate-income.

EIC, Earned Income Tax CreditThe amount that you receive for this credit is determined based on the filing status you use and your salary for the year.

Those who qualify pay less in federal taxes and can claim the earned income credit when they file their tax returns.

Basic Requirements to Be Eligible

  • You have to have a qualifying child, and they must have a social security number
  • You cannot file married or file separately
  • Your investment income should be no higher than $3,600
  • You have to be a U.S. citizen or resident alien for the entire year
  • Your earned income must come from employment or self-employment.

When you file with online tax filing, they will help you calculate the credit and make sure you complete the correct form by analyzing your answers to specific questions.

Getting the EIC without Having to File a Tax Return or Being Unemployed

If you are not required to file taxes, you should still file if you are eligible for this tax credit. You will only receive it if you file your taxes. Sometimes those who do not work are eligible for this tax credit too.

For example, if you receive specific disability benefits, they would qualify as earned income, and you could receive the tax credit. However, if you receive unemployment, you will not qualify for the tax credit if that is your only income source. You must have some sort of earned income to be able to meet the basic requirements for eligibility.

Qualifying for the EIC with No Dependents

It is possible to receive this tax credit when you have no dependents. However, keep in mind that you probably are not going to receive as much as someone who has dependents, since they are a determining factor in the amount issued. Nevertheless, many people who do not have dependents still qualify for this tax credit.

How Do Dependents Affect the EIC?

Qualifying Dependents – When it comes to who qualifies as a dependent, the guidelines are the same for qualifying children. This means they have to be a relative who has a social security number, meets the age qualifications, relationship, and residency requirements. They should be your son, daughter, adopted child, stepchild, foster child, sister, brother, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of them.

Age Requirements – They should be under the age of nineteen unless they are a college student and in that case, they should be under the age of twenty-four. If the child is disabled, there are no age requirements.

Dependent Phase Out – Your EIC will no longer increase after three qualifying children have been claimed.

Age Limits and the EIC for Adults

If you and your spouse are trying to qualify for the EIC without qualifying dependents, you have to be over the age of 25 yet under the age of 65 to receive the credit. The age is based on the age you are on the last day of the year. If you have a qualifying child, there is no age limit.

What is A Refundable Tax Credit?

The EITC is a refundable tax credit, which means it will be added to your refund if you do not owe the IRS any money. In the event that you do owe the IRS money, a portion of the credit will pay off the amount, if the refund is large enough, to reduce the amount you owe to zero.

What is EITC Fraud?

The IRS is cracking down to make sure that fraud is decreased when it comes to the EITC. This means that you may have to provide them with documents to prove that you are eligible to receive this tax credit. If you have to provide verification such as birth certificates, school records, or medical records, your refund may be delayed until they analyze the information.

How to Claim the Earned Income Credit

If you file your taxes online, they will ask you a few questions to determine whether you are eligible for the EITC to help you claim the Earned Income Credit (EIC)

Online tax filing also offers a free tax refund calculator so you can know how big your refund will be. Lastly, many companies make your W2 form available online so you can get it instantly with the online early W2 access tool.


What is a W-2 Form?

w2 form 2019 2020The W-2 Form is one of the most essential forms in the tax world. It details what you’ve been paid by your employer.

The first point is to remember that the W-2 form is entirely different from your W-4 form. This details any payment that has been withheld as tax by your employer. Any employer that has paid you at least $600 during the tax year must send you a W-2.

Contractors and freelancers will receive 1099s because they don’t have employers; they have clients.

You’ll need the W-2 form for everything from filing your taxes to claiming tax credits.

You Can’t Do Your Taxes Without Your W-2

Before you can complete your taxes, you must have your W-2 form. It’s the record of how much you’ve earned in the last financial year and how much tax you’ve already paid.

Without your W-2, you don’t have the information you need.

You Must Get Your W-2 By the End of January

By law, employers must make sure that their employers have access to their W-2 forms by January 31st, or they can face harsh financial penalties. The definition, set by the IRS, is that employers must have a W-2 form in their hands by the beginning of February.

But these days, it’s easier than ever before to get your W2 form online, because employers can send these forms electronically. Just make sure to keep in mind that previous employers can still wait until the end of January to provide you with your W-2 form.

However, if you do ask for it earlier, your employer must, by law, provide it to you within 30 days.

Your W-2 is So Much More than Your Salary

It’s easy to think that your W-2 form is exclusively about how much you earned in the last year. But it also includes lots of other helpful information.

You’ll also find numbers on how much you contributed to your retirement fund, how much your employer contributed to your health plan, and any dependent care benefits you received. All this data will influence exactly how much tax you’re expected to pay in the next year.

Your W-2 is Also Possessed by State and Local Tax Authorities

The W-2 Form is not something that only you and your employer possess. Your employer is legally obligated to send it to both the state and local tax authorities, as well as sending Copy A to the Social Security Administration.

This is designed for the purpose of making sure that taxpayers enter all the correct information on their tax forms. Both your state tax authority and the IRS will check the numbers provided against the copies they have access to.

Don’t Believe What You See

Employers can and do make mistakes when they send out W-2 forms. It can be as simple as getting the wrong address or as significant as putting a decimal point in the wrong place.

If there’s something clearly wrong, you should point this out and request a correction of your W-2 form. If it means that your taxes are late, you won’t get fined by the IRS because it wasn’t your fault.

Your employer, on the other hand, may receive a fine if their error causes your taxes to be late. They can also be fined if there are significant mistakes.

The Most Important Part of Your W-2 is the Address

You might not think that the address stated on your W-2 could become an issue. But it happens to thousands of Americans every year. If you haven’t gotten your W-2 by Valentine’s Day, you need to investigate whether the wrong address was used.

You should call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to rectify this. You’ll need to provide some basic information about what you were paid and where you worked.

In this case, you may be able to estimate withholdings and earnings on your tax return. However, when your W-2 shows up, you may need to file your taxes all over again.

Learn how you can get your W2 form online fast with the online W2 finder.