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FAQs

About the Calculator

What is the purpose of the calculator?

Total Tax Insights is the first tool of its kind to give you a better picture of the number and variety of taxes you pay and the estimated amounts. It is customized by state, and for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The resulting calculation may be eye-opening for you, as well as provide valuable insights into your approximate annual tax obligation.

Is the calculator a tax preparation tool?

Total Tax Insights is not a tax preparation tool or a substitute for the expert tax and financial advice of a trusted CPA. It has been developed to provide taxpayers with a better understanding of the number and variety of taxes they pay and their annual estimated amounts—important information individuals need to understand to best plan ways to enhance their financial well-being.

How much time will it take me to enter my information into the calculator?

Entering information into the calculator can be quite fast. There are only a few required fields to fill in: the county and/or city where you live, your marital status, federal “adjusted gross income” and number of dependents. For a more comprehensive picture of your estimated annual tax obligation, you may enter additional information. It’s also easy to change the information you have entered and to recalculate your annual estimated amount of taxes.

Who developed the calculator?

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) developed the calculator. As the world’s largest association representing the accounting profession, the AICPA has been a longtime advocate for tax simplification, transparency and visibility. Total Tax Insights is part of the AICPA’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that Americans have the information they need to make informed decisions that contribute to their financial well-being.

What were the criteria for selecting the taxes in the calculator?

Total Tax Insights, which includes approximately 20 of the most common federal, state and local taxes, will give you a clearer picture of the types of taxes that you pay and their estimated annual amounts—important information to know for budgeting, financial planning or making large purchases.

What information would be useful to have available when I use the calculator?

There are only a few required fields to fill in: the county and/or city where you live, your marital status, federal “adjusted gross income” and number of dependents. For a more comprehensive picture of your estimated annual tax obligation, we suggest having available a copy of your prior year’s tax return, real estate tax bill (if you own a home), automobile/personal property tax bill (if applicable) and utility bills to help you fill in the approximately 30 data fields. If you do not have all of the information available, simply use your best estimate.

What information will the calculator show me?

Based on the information entered into the calculator, you will be shown an estimate of what you are paying on an annual basis for approximately 20 different taxes. You will also see a pie chart that breaks out the percentage of taxes paid by category.

How will my tax estimate be displayed?

Total Tax Insights will list the various types of federal, state and local taxes that apply to you. These taxes may include income taxes, self-employment tax, payroll taxes, sales and use taxes, real and personal property taxes, utility taxes, cell and landline telephone excise taxes, various alcohol taxes, etc., and are based on the information you enter into the calculator. An estimated amount and percentage of your total tax liability will be provided for each type of tax and a pie chart that breaks out the percentage of taxes paid by category will also be displayed.

How useful is the tax calculator?

Total Tax Insights provides transparency about the taxes you pay—some of which you may not be aware. Taxes are part of your overall financial picture and understanding them is a critical step toward enhancing your financial well-being.

How is this calculator different from other available tax calculators?

Total Tax Insights is America’s only calculator that gives you a way to better understand how much you are paying in approximately 20 of the most common federal, state and local taxes. No other tax calculator brings together the variety and number of taxes in one tool. The resulting calculation will let you see your estimated tax obligation—helpful information as you think about important financial decisions, such as moving, buying a house or renting, or changing jobs.

How often is the calculator updated?

Total Tax Insights is up to date for the 2013 rules, including the 2013 Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) levels, the new Net Investment Income tax and phase-out of itemized deductions. We anticipate updating the tax calculator periodically; however, the value of Total Tax Insights is in giving you an estimate of your annual taxes and a better understanding of the variety and number of taxes you pay.

What happens to the data after I enter it?

Total Tax Insights does not store or save your data electronically. It is erased after you leave the website. While you are in the tool, you can recalculate and change the data you entered by hitting the “Recalculate” button.

Does the calculator reflect deductions or credits available in my state?

No it doesn’t. Total Tax Insights has been developed to provide you with a better understanding of the number and variety of taxes you pay and the estimated annual amounts. The calculator does not include federal or state credits, or certain deductions, exemptions, additions, subtractions or filing statuses.

How do I determine my tax liability if I live in New York City or am considering a move there? The New York City counties are not listed.

To determine your tax liability for New York City select ‘New York’ for the county where you live and ‘New York’ for your city.

If I have a question about the calculation, whom should I contact?

Total Tax Insights does not offer any tax advice. We recommend that you discuss your personal tax and financial situation with your CPA. If you are not currently working with a CPA, click here to find a CPA in your state. For general consumer inquiries, please email [email protected]. For technical issues or AICPA member inquiries, please contact the AICPA Member Service Center at 888.777.7077 (Tel) or 800.362.5066 (Fax).

About My Taxes

Why are some taxes included and not others?

Total Tax Insights includes approximately 20 of the most common taxes. Given the many state and local taxes, it is not possible to include all taxes. By entering information and calculating the results, you will have a clearer picture of the number and variety of taxes that you pay and the estimated annual amounts of each—important information to have as you consider financial planning.

If I am considering moving, will the calculator be useful to me?

The calculator will be helpful as you consider a change in residence, for example, from one county or state to another. You will be able to calculate your estimated tax obligation based upon where you currently reside, and then recalculate the data based on where you plan to move. Comparing the two results will be insightful.

Can I calculate my taxes if I work in one state and live in another, or if I have worked for less than a year?

Total Tax Insights has been developed to give you the estimated amount of taxes you would pay in the state and county where you reside. If you live in one state and work in another, you will need to enter the data by selecting the state and county where you work to get an approximate tax liability. Likewise, if you worked less than a year, simply enter the amount that you earned or estimate the amount you anticipate earning.

Will the calculator give me the same results as my tax return?

Total Tax Insights is not a tax preparation tool or a substitute for the expert tax and financial advice of a trusted CPA. It has been developed to provide you with a better understanding of the number and variety of taxes you pay and the estimated annual amounts. The calculator does not include federal or state credits, or certain deductions, exemptions, additions, subtractions or filing statuses. Also, please keep in mind that the calculator is based on tax rules at a particular point in time, which may vary from the year in which your tax return was calculated.

Does the calculator take into account domestic partnerships?

Yes, most same-sex married couples can use Total Tax Insights to estimate approximately 20 of the most common taxes at the federal, state and local levels. If your marriage was validly entered into in a domestic or foreign jurisdiction that has the legal authority to sanction same-sex marriages, you should list yourself as married on the input screen.

However, the calculator does not attempt to apply the various state rules regarding same-sex marriages. For simplicity, the calculator assumes that your resident state (and any other state selected) also recognizes same-sex marriages. Therefore, if your resident state does not recognize your marriage, your actual state income tax amount may vary. Learn more about the tax ramifications of the DOMA Supreme Court ruling.

Can I rely on the calculator to determine my taxes?

Total Tax Insights is not a tax preparation tool or a substitute for the expert tax and financial advice of a trusted CPA. It has been developed to provide taxpayers with a better understanding of the number and variety of taxes you pay and their estimated annual amounts. For assistance with tax preparation, click here to find a CPA in your state.

Will this information help me reduce my overall taxes?

The CPA profession has developed this calculator to help taxpayers with tax transparency—that is, to understand the variety and number of taxes they pay and their estimated annual amounts. Taxes are part of your overall financial picture, and understanding them is a critical step toward enhancing your financial well-being.

If I have questions about my tax situation, whom should I ask?

The AICPA recommends that you contact your CPA with questions about your tax situation. If you don’t currently work with a CPA, click here for a directory to find a CPA in your state.