To estimate your federal tax refund, use free tax calculators on websites such as H&R Block, TurboTax and Liberty Tax Service. The TurboTax TaxCaster calculator requires certain personal information, such as tax filing status, age, total income, and tax deductions, credits and payments, according to TurboTax.
To get the maximum tax refund, deduct all alimony, dependent care expenses, charitable donations and professional expenses. Married couples generally receive a larger tax refund if they file jointly, unless they have large amounts of unreimbursed medical expenses or miscellaneous deductions, according to HowStuffWorks. Contributing to an Individual Retirement Account can also increase your tax return by lowering your total taxable income, thereby decreasing the amount of taxes you owe.
As of 2016, the Internal Revenue Service issues approximately 90 percent of refunds within 21 days of filing a tax return. People who e-file their tax returns and direct deposit their tax refunds typically receive their refunds faster, according to the IRS. Use the Where's My Refund? tool on the IRS website to check the status of your refund by entering your Social Security number, filing status and the amount of your tax return. Contact an IRS representative if you have not received your refund 21 days after e-filing or six weeks after mailing your tax return.