Photo (cc) by StartAgain
This post was updated March 3, 2014, at 5:57 p.m. ET.
Tax season is in full swing, and you may find yourself scrambling to get documents in order to file your return.
Unfortunately, tax return preparation can equal clutter and headaches if you are a small-business owner and haven’t kept adequate records. The same also applies to those who stash all their mail in a corner, only to get overwhelmed when it’s time to find all the documents you need.
Thankfully, there are tax return apps to help you do everything from organizing your documents and preparing your return to checking your refund status. In the video below, Money Talks News founder and CPA Stacy Johnson discusses a few helpful tax apps that will make your life easier. Take a look, and read on for additional options.
Tired of manually sorting what seems like an endless pile of receipts? A number of apps enable you to scan, archive and classify receipts. Shoeboxed, which comes with a free trial and starts at $9.95 per month, is available for iOS and Android devices.
And if you are a BlackBerry or Windows Phone user, check out Expensify, which has the same capabilities.
Having trouble tracking mileage associated with business travel? MileIQ records every car trip, allows you to classify it as business or personal, and has expense report composition capabilities.
The app is available for iPhone and Android and will track up to 40 trips per month free of charge. If you need additional tracking, the unlimited plan is $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year.
Ever attempted to donate a bag of items to a shelter only to be questioned about the value for tax-reporting purposes? While this can be rather difficult, especially if you have an assortment of items, iDontatedIt is a tax app that enables you to take pictures of your contributions and simultaneously calculate the value so you no longer have to play the guessing game.
Tax return preparation and filing
Why sit and stare at a computer screen when you can prepare and file your tax return on the go?
The TaxACT Tablet App comes equipped with a glossary of 300 tax-related terms, and allows you to file both your federal return and state return. You can also use the TurboTax Snap Tax App to file your return if you have only W-2, interest or unemployment income of less than $100,000 and are not a homeowner.
Each of the apps can be downloaded free of charge and they are available for iPhone and Android devices. Federal filing is free, but state returns are $14.99.
The H&R Block Mobile App does not have filing capabilities, but you can locate an office, schedule an appointment, upload documents, estimate your tax obligation and track the status of your refund. However, you can prepare and file a 1040EZ via their smartphone app or any other tax form using your iPad.
Filing an extension
Need more time to prepare your return? Use TaxSoftware.com’s app to quickly populate Form 4868 and submit a request to the IRS for expedited processing. It is available on the iPhone and comes with a small price tag of 99 cents.
Bear in mind that an extension to file does not entitle you to remit tax obligations after the April 15 deadline.
Tax refund tracking
Uncle Sam’s headquarters has apparently got on board with the mobile technology wave and created the IRS2Go free tax app, which communicates important information regarding your refund status.
You can also use the technology to request transcripts of past tax returns and locate Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites throughout the U.S.
Does tax jargon have your head spinning in circles? You can always visit the website used to prepare your taxes for guidance.
Another valuable resources is the Bloomberg BNA Tax Reference App, available on iOS and Android devices. It provides tax rates for 2011-2014 and can calculate taxable income for each of the filing statuses. Best of all, it’s absolutely free.
Another alternative is the Dictionary of Tax Terms, which simplifies about 600 tax-related terms and explains the appropriate uses for a number of tax forms. Although it does not require an Internet connection, there is a fee of $3.99 to download the app.
The Earned Income Tax Credit Finder is an app offered by Intuit that asks a series of questions to determine your eligibility. You will also receive an estimate and filing instructions. It is available free of charge on the iOS and Android market.
Dying to know how much you will get back from Uncle Sam’s headquarters? Download the TaxCaster app from TurboTax onto your iPhone or Android device, provide a few tidbits of information regarding your income, deductions, credits and payments, and receive your results along with a recommendation of tax products that should best suit your needs.
What tax apps do you use to facilitate record-keeping and tax return preparation? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.