Back in the day, filing income tax returns mean sitting down at a desk or your kitchen table with paper forms, boxes of receipts, pencils, scrap paper and maybe a calculator. While some taxpayers continue to file their taxes using old school methods, many more are turning to Smartphones and tablets to get the job done. Many commercial tax preparation companies and even the IRS have responded with apps designed to make filing returns online easier. Other apps that appear to be unrelated to filing taxes are in fact very useful in accomplishing the task of filing federal and state income tax returns. Best of all, these apps are totally free to download.
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You can’t actually file your income tax return with IRS2Go, but you can find resources for in-person assistance, sign up for tax tips and follow the IRS on Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube. Oh, and you can also keep track of the status of your e-filed federal tax return and refund, if you’re expecting one. IRS2Go is free for both iOS and Android devices and is available in Spanish as well as English.
If you’re puzzled about concepts like standard mileage rates and limits for retirement plans, look no further than the Bloomberg BNA Quick Tax Reference App for answers. While you can’t actually file your return using the app, you can calculate taxable income for various filing statuses for various tax years. The Bloomberg BNA Quick Tax Reference App is free for iOS and Android users.
Slice works with your computer browser or mobile device to pull information from emailed receipts for easy-to-forget purchases such as office supplies from email receipts into a single location that can be downloaded as a .csv file. For users who might feel squeamish about granting access to their email inboxes, Slice offers assurances that information is NOT shared with third parties. Also, for nearly all users, passwords are neither disclosed nor stored. Slice is free for both iOS and Android devices.
Mint operates as a one-stop shop for budgeting, allowing users to pay bills, track expenses, monitor bank accounts, even check credit scores on browsers and mobile apps. Along with its budgeting functions, Mint also generates trends reports based on spending habits and sorts transactions by categories. Both trends and categories can be exported 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 app. MileBug can keep track of multiple accounts, coordinating your mileage with the current IRS mileage allotment to create reports that can be downloaded in HTML format or a .cvs file that can be imported into a spreadsheet. MileBug is free and compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Phone mobile devices.
If you qualify to file 1040-EZ, H&R has your back. Its 1040-EZ app lets you snap photos of your W-2 forms and file federal and state income tax returns for just $9.99. The app is free and is available for iOS and Android devices. If your tax circumstances are more complex and you have an iPad, the H&R Block iPad Tax App allows you to obtain free tax advice via live chat and file your federal income tax return for free. If you don’t have an iPad, the H&R Block MyBlock app allows you to estimate your taxes, schedule an appointment at an H&R Block office and track your refund status once you’ve filed a return. It’s free and available for Android and iOS mobile devices.
TaxACT apps allow users to e-file state and federal income tax returns, track the status of returns, maintain records of charitable donations and securely store digital copies of tax documents. TaxACT Express allows users to file simple federal and state tax returns free from their Smartphones, while the TaxACT Tablet App allows users to access, print and e-file federal tax returns through the TaxACT Free Federal Edition program. Donation Assistant allows users to keep track of charitable donations year round. TaxACT DocVault allows users to import images of receipts and donations directly into TaxACT Deluxe or Preparer’s Enterprise Editions. TaxACT’s Tax Return Status app allows all taxpayers – whether they use TaxACT to file their returns or not – to track the status of their federal income tax returns and obtain estimated dates for receiving their refunds. All apps are free and compatible with iOS and Android mobile devices.
Along with its online and desktop software, TurboTax offers a suite of mobile apps to aid in the task of tax preparation. TaxCaster allows users to estimate their tax refunds; It’sDeductible helps users keep track of charitable donations and sync them to their TurboTax accounts. MyTaxRefund provides updated status reports of e-filed returns and estimated dates for receiving refund checks – even for returns that were not filed using TurboTax. The main TurboTax Mobile app allows users to make seamless transitions between Smartphones, tablets and computers in completing and filing income tax returns. It’s Deductible is compatible only with iOS mobile devices; the other apps work with both iOS and Android mobile devices.
TaxSlayer isn’t as well known as some of the players in the tax preparation space, has been in existence since the 1990s. Along with its online tax filing programs, the TaxSlayer Go mobile app allows users to file simple tax returns right from their mobile devices. TaxSlayer Go is free and compatible with iOS and Android mobile devices.
Shoeboxed allows users to keep track of receipts and mileage while eliminating the drudgery of manual data entry. As a bonus, Shoeboxed records can be imported 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 Wherever You Are
Adding these 10 apps to your tax filing arsenal won’t make filing your tax returns as much fun as watching videos or listening to your favorite tunes. But you may discover credits and deductions that translate to major tax savings you might have otherwise missed. Just be sure to use a secure Internet connection, just as you would with your home computer. Being liberated from your desk to file taxes is great. Potentially exposing sensitive financial information to unauthorized access? Not so much.