I started my first job out of college in September. I claimed no deductions on my W-4 at that time.

My company is withholding enough each month to pay 1/12 of the tax on my yearly salary. I have only worked for four months in 2010, so my 2010 income will be 1/3 of my yearly salary, and the withheld amount so far will be 1/3 of the estimated tax liability of my yearly salary.

However, my net income for 2010 is low enough that I will be in the 15% tax bracket for 2010 instead of the 25% bracket, so my tax liability should be quite a bit less.

After factoring in my deductions, it seems that I might have a large refund coming. Please confirm/deny my understanding?

Second question - Let's say I get my 2010 W-2 from my employer in early January and I file immediately. Will I receive my refund check within a few weeks of filing? Or will I have to wait until refund checks are sent out after 4/15?

2 Answers 2


Your calculations look correct in that they will be withholding taxes at the full year income rate even though you will only have 1/3 of that income which will put you in a lower tax bracket.

There are online sites where you can fill out a return for free. You can estimate your return by filling out a return using the numbers on your paystub (you will have to add in your last paystub manually).

In regards to when you will get your refund check? I believe it comes within a month or so of filing.


I have been doing e-filing and I get the return in my account in 10 to 14 days over the past couple of years.

It is worth the e-filing cost to get my money back a month faster.

  • So have I. Up till now I've always been below whatever threshold where it's free to file. I used Turbotax online last year and was really happy with it, dead simple and not buggy like whatever POS I used in 2008.
    – Isaac
    Dec 30, 2010 at 19:30

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