How to Estimate Tax Refunds Without W-2's

by Julie Richards

A tax refund gives you the opportunity to plan for a large purchase or catch up on overdue bills. You may want to estimate the amount of the tax refund to determine what you can afford or what bills you can pay off. It is possible to calculate a close estimation of what your tax refund will be even if you have not received your W-2's or 1099 forms. The estimation may not be exact, but you will have a better idea of the amount of your tax refund before you sit down with your tax preparer.

Collect the last pay stubs from any jobs you had during the year. Make sure the stubs list the year-to-date earnings and taxes paid out for the year. Total the year-to-date earnings from your final pay stubs. For instance, if you worked for two businesses, add the final year-to-date earnings from both stubs to determine the total earnings for the year. Record this total on your tax form.

Record any earnings made through direct sales, such as flea markets or craft shows. Total the direct sales earnings. Include any earnings you had from a home business, such as a babysitting service or repair work. Determine the earnings you had from freelance work that may be recorded on a 1099 tax form. Total the home business earnings and the freelance earnings.

Fill out your tax form, beginning with the total year-to-date from your last pay stubs as the earnings from W-2's. Add your earnings from the direct sales, freelance work and home business.

Use a pencil to fill out your Schedule C tax form and self-employment tax forms. Record your self-employment tax debt on your tax form.

Fill out the tax form as instructed by the work booklet associated with your particular tax form. Include child tax credit, earned income credit and any other credits for which you qualify. Refer to the year-to-date income tax withheld on your last pay stubs when asked how much tax you paid. If you have more than one pay stub, add the withholding tax together.

Calculate your tax debt. Record the tax on your tax form. Include any deductions for work-related items or home-business expenses on the tax form. Finish filling out the tax form to determine your estimated tax refund.

Items you will need

  • Tax forms or tax software
  • Tax form instruction booklet
  • Self-employment tax forms (if applicable)
  • Paycheck stubs
  • Pencil and paper
  • Calculator (optional)

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