Estimating Tax Payment/Refund
November 15, 2011 1:24 PM   Subscribe

We're trying to estimate just whether we'll get a refund or have to pay on a very simple, standard deduction, Federal return. Estimator apps vary widely.

I used two different iPad apps, one from H&R Block and the other from TurboTax and got two widely different results, one requiring us to pay and the other with a significant refund. As we're both unemployed we would really feel the payment so naturally we'd like to know, even in a very broad stroke. Can you tell from the following whether we're likely to get a refund from the following?

• Married filing jointly
• No dependents
• Renting
• Head of household received $17,376 in Unemployment, no other income.
• Spouse received $7000 in SSDI Disability, no other income.
• No assets received or sold.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (6 answers total)
Were any taxes withheld from the unemployment income?
posted by The Michael The at 1:39 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

No, there is no way to tell from that, since you do not indicate how much tax you have had withheld.
posted by kindall at 1:46 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't know about your specific case, but I know when I was on unemployment and did not have taxes taken out it ended up biting me in the ass at tax time.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:11 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

IANATL, but I calculate your tax at around $500, assuming no withholding and that neither of you are over 65 or blind. If you had more than $500 withheld, you will get a refund. Otherwise you will have to pay.
posted by ubiquity at 2:32 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

IANATL either, but I got a tax of $0. My assumptions are: 1) no withholding, 2) unemployment is taxed, and 3) SSDI is not taxed.

I took that final assumption from this document on That links to this document on the IRS site which seems to confirm the same: if your total income (including the SSDI) is less than $32,000 (for married filing jointly), then the SSDI income is not taxable.

That puts the sum of the standard deduction ($11,600 for married filing jointly) and two exemptions ($3,700 each, $7,400 total) at $19,000, and thus more than your $17,376 unemployment income, making your taxable income $0.

Again, I am NOT a tax lawyer, accountant, or anything else dealing with taxes. I'm just some dude on the internet who uses Google. The above is only my assumption of how this situation would play out and in no way constitutes advice or a suggestion of how to handle your taxes.
posted by The Michael The at 4:12 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I admit, I assumed the SSDI was taxed. Mea culpa.
posted by ubiquity at 3:10 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

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