Top apps to e-file your taxes:
Filing income tax returns used to mean laboring over paper forms, boxes of receipts, pencils, and even a calculator. While some taxpayers continue to file their taxes the old-fashioned way, most turn to software solutions to streamline their tax prep.
Many commercial tax prep companies (and even the IRS!) provide apps designed to make filing returns online easier. And other financial apps not directly related to filing taxes provide services that simplify your process of itemizing deductions and hunting for tax credits.
Best of all, many of these apps offer free versions or are totally free.
Need support surviving this tax season? Check out these 10 apps to make e-filing your taxes a snap.
TaxACT Express lets you prepare and file simple federal and state tax returns for free. It offers a redesigned W-2 capture (so you can easily upload your W-2), supports mobile and desktop devices, and tracks your returns and your refund. And its low cost makes it one of the cheapest ways to e-file your taxes, beating both TurboTax and H&R on value.
TaxACT Express is compatible with iOS and Android mobile devices, and includes both free and paid versions.
Along with its online and desktop software, TurboTax offers a suite of mobile apps to aid in the task of tax preparation. TaxCaster lets users to estimate their tax refunds. To track charitable donations and sync them to your TurboTax account, try the It’sDeductible app. And the main TurboTax Mobile app helps you to make seamless transitions between Smartphones, tablets and computers in completing and filing income tax returns.
It’sDeductible is compatible only with iOS mobile devices; the other apps work with both iOS and Android mobile devices.
Credit Karma Tax
Credit Karma‘s tax software is completely free — for federal taxes, state taxes, and all other tax forms. Its customer service and support resources are somewhat limited relative to some of its competitors. But if you’re looking for an up-and-down free service that won’t shoehorn in any last-minute charges, Credit Karma Tax is a great option.
TaxSlayer isn’t as well known as some of the players in the tax preparation space, though it’s been iterating on its tax software since the 1990s. Along with its online tax filing programs, the TaxSlayer mobile app allows users to file simple tax returns right from their mobile devices. TaxSlayer Free is free for 1040 filers. TaxSlayer Classic lets you import past data and provides additional support, and will set you back $17 for federal returns and $22 per state.
FreeTax USA allows you to file your federal taxes for free, though you’ll have to pay extra for state filing and personalized support. And it’s okay if you haven’t used it before — you can import your information from TurboTax, H&R Block, or TaxACT. If you pay $6.99 for the Deluxe version, you’ll also get features like Audit Assist, Priority Support, and Amended Returns. The software is best used on browsers, rather than mobile devices.
You can’t actually file your income tax return with IRS2Go, but it does offer a slew of other helpful features. This app lets you make a payment, find free tax preparation assistance, sign up for helpful tax tips. You can also use it to track the status of your e-filed federal tax return and refund. IRS2Go is free for both iOS and Android devices and is available in Spanish as well as English.
H&R Block offers a slew of tax apps to make your tax season a cinch. With the MyBlock app, you can estimate your refund, check your balance, view transactions, upload tax documents, and even view your return and e-file status. And with H&R Block Tax Prep, you can prep and file your taxes from the convenience of your mobile device. Just tap to upload last year’s return from any tax preparer and upload your W-2, and they’ll import all your information. They also provide tax experts to answer any questions you may have along the way.
If your tax return is simple enough, check out H&R Block Free Edition, where you can file online for free, while securing every deduction and credit available. H&R Block apps are available on Android and iOS mobile devices.
Budgeting and expense-tracking apps
Mint operates as a one-stop shop for your budgeting needs. With Mint, you can pay bills, track expenses, monitor bank accounts, and even check credit scores on your mobile device. But you can also use the app to track your investments — which you’ll need for those 1099-INTs. Along with its budgeting functions, Mint also generates trends reports based on spending habits and sorts transactions by categories. You can export both trends and categories as .csv files. Mint is free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone mobile devices.
Do you drive for work-related reasons? If so, MileBug is a must-have. MileBug can track multiple accounts, coordinating your mileage with the current IRS mileage allotment. It then generates reports that you can download as an HTML or a .cvs file and import into a spreadsheet. MileBug is free and can help you maximize your deductions on iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices.
Shoeboxed helps you to keep track of receipts and mileage while eliminating the drudgery of manual data entry. As a bonus, you can import Shoeboxed records directly into OnePriceTaxes online tax filing software. Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker apps are free and compatible for iOS and Android mobile devices.
File taxes from your phone
Adding these 10 apps to your tax filing arsenal still won’t make filing tax returns fun. But you may find credits and deductions that you otherwise would have missed — and what could be more fun than free money? Just be sure to use a secure Internet connection.
Looking for more personalized assistance than these software solutions offer? Check out these tax prep firms to get the most out of your tax season.
Audrey Henderson is a Chicagoland-based writer and researcher. She holds advanced degrees in sociology and law from Northwestern University. Her writing specialties are sustainable development in the built environment, policy related to arts and popular culture, socially and ecologically responsible travel, civic tech and personal finance.