The traditional tax process makes planning for a refund or tax payment unpredictable. This is why Gusto partnered with april to offer two free tools to help employees better plan their taxes for more financial clarity:
Gusto has partnered with april to offer these free tools exclusively in the Gusto Wallet mobile app. Click here if you’d like to learn about our Automated Tax Filing tool with april.
These tools are available to active W-2 employees who meet all eligibility criteria (see the “Eligibility” section below).
These tools are exclusively available to active W-2 employees through the Gusto Wallet mobile app. 1099 contractors cannot access this feature.
Eligibility criteria include:
Follow the steps below to generate a free estimate of your federal tax refund for the current calendar year. You’ll be asked to share info on your filing status, additional income sources, and similar topics relevant to your tax refund.
Estimates and tax information are private between the employee, Gusto, and april—the information is not shared with your employer or the IRS.
If eligible, you will see the following information:
Once you complete april’s tax questions, your estimated refund will be displayed.
Remember: Tax estimates are for federal taxes only, made solely based on the information the employee provides, and may not provide a complete tax picture. Estimates should be used for planning and informational purposes only, and you still need to file your taxes with the IRS. When engaging in tax planning, you should also consider any applicable state or local income taxes.
Estimates are not automatic—if your tax-related circumstances change, follow the steps below to receive a new estimate.
If your tax-related circumstances change (like a change in income, marital status, or dependents) stock sales, or secondary education enrollment) after receiving a refund estimate, you can get a new estimate for the current tax year at any time.
If needed, update your withholding elections in Gusto. Updating your tax refund estimate does not change your tax withholding records in Gusto.
Here’s how to generate an updated estimate:
This tool offers eligible employees suggestions on adjusting their federal withholding based on their projected tax outcome. If the suggestion is accepted, the employee will be immediately prompted to re-sign their W-4 federal tax election form. If signed, the new tax elections should be reflected on their next processed paycheck.
If eligible, employees can follow the steps below to learn about Paycheck optimization and adjust their paycheck:
Please note, if you experience changes to your address, filing status, dependents, number of jobs, or withholdings, you should make updates to your refund estimate, and potentially update your withholding elections in Gusto.
What are the Refund Estimator and Paycheck Optimizer?
Gusto partnered with april to offer two free tools to help employees plan their taxes:
How do these calculations work?
Refund Estimator and Paycheck Optimizer use Gusto's payroll data and april’s tax calculations to give federal tax estimates and suggestions. The Paycheck Optimizer's recommendations stem from the Refund Estimator's predictions for your upcoming tax year. If you’re projected to:
Remember, these are tax planning tools based on the information provided—actual tax liability results can vary.
Why is the Paycheck Optimizer listed as unavailable?
If you are eligible for the Paycheck Optimizer, you can use it once per pay period. If you've already used Paycheck Optimizer within a pay cycle, you'll need to wait for your next paycheck to access it again. However, the Refund Estimator can be used at any time.
If you need to change your withholdings, you can update your federal tax elections in Gusto Wallet mobile app by going to You → Tax Elections → Edit for federal taxes.
How do I become eligible for Refund Estimator and Paycheck Optimizer?
Refund Estimator and Paycheck Optimizer are exclusively available to active W-2 employees through the Gusto Wallet mobile app. 1099 contractors cannot access this feature. Eligibility criteria include:
Where do I access Refund Estimator and Paycheck Optimizer?
If eligible, these tools will be visible in the Pay tab of the Gusto Wallet mobile app.
Is it free to use Refund Estimator and Paycheck Optimizer?
Yes. It’s a free benefit for eligible W-2 employees using the Gusto Wallet mobile app.
Do Refund Estimator and Paycheck Optimizer work for state taxes?
No, Refund Estimator and Paycheck Optimizer only focus on federal taxes. So when engaging in tax planning, employees should also consider any applicable state or local income taxes, which may differ depending on where the employee lives and works. For any tax advice, consult with a tax professional.
Can I use Refund Estimator and Paycheck Optimizer for previous tax years?
No. Refund Estimator is designed to project the next year’s refund and Paycheck Optimizer to adjust future withholdings. The tools work by using payroll data from the current calendar year.
Will using these tools change my withholding or paycheck?
They can. The Refund Estimator is purely informational, but accepting the Paycheck Optimizer’s suggestions will adjust your W-4 elections, impacting federal income tax withholdings on your paycheck.
What should I do if my tax information changes?
If tax circumstances change, an update will be needed. Employees should make updates to their tax estimate and a revised forecast will be provided.
How do Refund Estimator and Paycheck Optimizer impact my taxes with the IRS?
Using the Paycheck Optimizer's suggestions can alter your federal income tax withholdings with your employer using Gusto. These changes, along with earnings and deductions outside of payroll, can influence the IRS’s assessment of your total liability when you file your tax return.
Remember, these are tax planning tools based on the information provided—actual tax liability results can vary. With both the Refund Estimator and Paycheck Optimizer, you are responsible for filing your taxes with the IRS.
Can april or Gusto tell me what to select?
No, we cannot. Employees should seek tax and financial advice from a licensed professional.
1. Refund Estimate’s forecast may not be a complete tax picture and should be used for planning and informational purposes only. The estimate may not reflect changes to tax filing statuses and situation, tax law, or information not provided as part of Refund Estimator.