Smart TaxesSmart Taxes

10 apps to make tax filing easier

Smartphones can help keep track of receipts, donations and even your refund status.

By MSN Money producer Jan 8, 2014 2:00AM

By Beth Braverman, The Fiscal Times  The Fiscal Times


Tax-filing season is upon us, and it's easy to be overwhelmed by all the forms, documents, and information you need to collect. Luckily, there are dozens of mobile apps designed to help.


Woman with mobile device © Jacqueline Veissid, Photodisc, Getty ImagesSome are great for keeping yourself organized throughout the year, while others don't come into play until you're ready to file or want to check on the status of your returns.


Here's a look at our 10 favorite tax-prep apps for 2014:


1. Shoeboxed


Platform: iOS, Android


Cost: lite version is free; premium packages start at $9.95/month


How it helps: This app lets you digitize and archive receipts and other paper documents into a categorized, searchable, IRS-accepted database for easy access during tax time. You can snap photos of your receipts and email them in, or send hard copies to the company via mail for processing.


2. iDonatedit


Platform: iOS, Android


Cost: $2.99


How it helps: Keeping track of non-cash charitable gifts can be a headache, but the IRS is increasingly asking for receipts and documentation of such donations. Enter iDonatedIt, which saves receipts, provides value estimates (although you'll still need an independent appraisal for anything worth more than $5,000), and allows you to store photos of donated items. Then you can email a summary of the donated items to yourself or your tax preparer. 


3. Gas Cubby


Platform: iOs


Cost: free


How it helps: Ad-supported Gas Cubby allows road warriors to easily track not only their miles, but also all gas and maintenance expenses associated with a vehicle. The app also has some handy non-tax related features, such as reminders about regular maintenance and insurance information storage.




Platform: iOS, Android


Cost: free


How it helps: Designed to help consumers manage their college debt, this app combines information from all outstanding student loans into one place, making it easier for borrowers to keep track of payments. It's also an easy way to find out how much interest you paid on student loans, especially if you've got loans from multiple lenders, so that you can write it off on your taxes.


Related: Slammed by New Taxes: Why You're Poorer Than You Think 


5. Simplee Wallet


Platform: iOS, Android


Cost: free


How it helps: Simplee allows health care consumers to easily track and manage all of their medical expenses in one place. The service links to insurance accounts, allows user to pay medical bills directly, and—most importantly for taxpayers—keeps track of your out-of-pocket expenses. This year, taxpayers younger than 65 only deduct medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of income; those 65 and older need to meet a 7.5 percent threshold.


6. Tax Caster


Platform: iOS, Android


Cost: free


How it helps: This app offers an easy way to get a quick-and-dirty-estimate of what your tax refund will look like. Enter some basic information such as your income, filing status, and projected withholdings, and the app will spit back its best guess at how much money Uncle Sam owes you. (Note: This app is essentially an ad for TurboTax, which created it, and will suggest a list of recommended TurboTax products based on your profile.)


7. Angie's List


Platform: iOS, Android


Cost: app is free, but an Angie's List subscription costs $3 per month


How it helps: Angie's List is a great resource not only for finding house painters and mechanics, but also for finding a quality tax preparer. There's no licensing requirement for someone to call himself a tax preparer (as opposed to a certified financial planner or a certified public accountant), and many people who practice have never taken a competency test. Check Angie's List for unbiased reviews and ratings of tax preparers before turning over your finances to a stranger.


8. Ask a CPA


Platform: iOS, Android


Cost: free


How it helps: You know all those tax questions you always wanted to know the answer to but were afraid to ask? This app has your answer. Sort by category and question to find thousands of questions answered by real CPAs. If you can't find the answer, type in your question for a quick response from a real CPA in your area.


9. TurboTax for iPad


Platform: iOS


Cost: $29.99


How it helps: Want to actually file your taxes from your tablet? The TurboTax for iPad features all the services of the basic computer software package, available directly from your iPad. Several other tax prep firms offer tax-filing apps, but this one consistently gets the best ratings. (Note: Those with simple tax returns can file via mobile phone for $19.99, using the SnapTax app.) 


10. IRS2Go


Platform: iOS, Android


Cost: free


How it helps: After you've filed, use this app to check your refund status. Enter your Social Security number, filing status and anticipated refund, and the app will tell you whether your return has been processed and when you can expect to receive the refund. You can also sign up for tax updates throughout the filing season, which provides helpful daily tax tips for filers.

More from The Fiscal Times:


Jan 12, 2014 2:23PM
Ya by all means keep all that stuff on your phone, LOL, Planet Of The Apps.
Jan 12, 2014 11:06AM
Is this an advertisement for "smart" phones?
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