2012 Federal Income Tax Calculator

Use one of these federal income tax calculators to estimate your 2012 taxes

It’s officially October, which means it’s time to start thinking about taxes again. Not only is the deadline to file your 2011 tax return if you requested an extension October 15 but the next tax season is right around the corner too.

As you look forward to 2012 taxes, it might be useful to estimate your liability and refund with a tax calculator.

One caveat: no income tax calculator is completely accurate. Not until you sit down and do your taxes will you know for sure how much tax you owe or how big your refund is.

That being said, it never hurts to be prepared.

1. IRS 2012 Withholding Calculator

The most thorough (and probably the most accurate) calculator out there is the IRS 2012 Withholding Calculator. These guys know the tax code better than anyone and they’re the ones who are going to accept and review your return, so why not go straight to the source?

This calculator is great because it will tell you what your estimated 2012 tax liability will be, how much tax will have been withheld, and how big a bill or refund you can expect.

It will also tell you how many allowances you should claim on your W-4 and if you should withhold any additional money to cover your tax liability in full. This allows you to detect any potential surprises early on and correct your withholding to take some of the bite out.

The downside of this calculator is that it’s quite involved. You need to enter information about your filing status, your dependents, how many jobs you work, your child and dependent care credit eligibility, income and withholding, adjustments, and deductions.

In fact, you will probably need your most recent pay stub and tax return, as well as a slew of other numbers that you may need to estimate.

This may be more work than you’re looking to get into. If that’s the case you can always try…

2. calcxml.com

This is a much simpler calculator than the IRS and requires less information than the IRS. It only needs your filing status, gross annual income, qualified plan/IRA contributions, itemized deductions, number of personal exemptions, and number of dependents.

The downside here is that it gives you only your estimated tax liability and your average and marginal tax rates. It is also not capable of factoring in credits, which can reduce your tax liability by a considerable sum. All in all, its accuracy leaves something to be desired.

Again, calculators can be great for planning, but the only way you can really know what your tax liability is and how big your refund will be is to actually file taxes. Here on RapidTax you can complete your whole return – and even see your refund amount – before you enter any payment information. So why not e-file your taxes now?

Photo via James Vaughan on Flickr.

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