There are several different methods to estimate income tax refund. Some more accurate that others but in general they give an idea what to expect to receive for a refund. There is variety of tools on the Internet that allow to estimate taxes, but that is what it is, an estimate. It all depends on the details that these tools include to provide an accurate refund estimate.
Generally, the simpler is the tax situation, the more accurate is the estimate. Naturally if the estimating tool omits certain details that normally would be claimed on an income tax return, then the estimate becomes inaccurate. The best tool for the job is one that covers all of the aspects of the actual tax return. But if you’re going to do all this work just for an estimate, then you might as well just prepare the actual tax return and be ready for filing it to IRS (Internal Revenue Service).
To get the most accurate estimate, simply prepare a sample tax return. You may use one of the online services, which I believe is the easiest and most convenient way to prepare tax return. Experiment with all of the services to find the one that you like, and most importantly understand better. These online services allow to prepare tax returns for free with no obligation. Note that, when you create a tax return, it does not mean you are filing it to IRS. It’s completely private what’s provided on the return, so that if you want to test “what if”, no one will ever know until you submit the return to IRS.
The other great benefit to estimating income tax refund using an actual preparation of a return is that when estimate is complete, the income tax return is essentially complete as well. This way with little more effort the income tax return can be finalized and filed to IRS. Also in the process of preparing income tax by yourself you save quite a bit of money as opposed to when using a tax professional to do it for you.