Tax season can be tough for small business owners. Filing your taxes yourself is a time-consuming chore, and hiring an accountant is expensive. But with your smartphone or tablet, and the right apps, you can be well on your way to a stress-free tax day.
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Your mobile device can ease the process by managing your receipts, tracking your deductions and automating the process of filling out tax forms. It takes the guesswork out of the filing process, and saves you money by eliminating the need to hire a professional. Read on for 7 mobile apps to help you get started.
H&R Block Mobile – iOS, Android (Free)
The H&R Block Mobile app makes it easier to file your taxes, by connecting you directly to tax professionals. Basically, the app lets you upload your documents and send them to a tax pro. It can create a personalized checklist of required documents, and lets you view tax returns from previous years. If you need to schedule a face-to-face meeting with an H&R agent, the app can also help you find the closest office in your area. Additionally, the app lets you check the status of your federal tax return, and estimate the amount of your return with a built-in calculator.
H&R Block 1040EZ – iPad (Free)
While the H&R Block Mobile app focuses on connecting you with tax professionals, H&R 1040EZ instead helps you e-file your taxes independently. To use the app, you snap photos of the necessary documents, then file the information. It's free to prepare your taxes, but e-filing costs $9.99. The app checks for mistakes so you can correct errors and omissions, and customer service agents are available for live support if you need it. Additionally, with the 1040EZ app, you can easily view prior tax returns if you've used H&R Block before.
TurboTax - iPad (Free)
TurboTax for iPad walks you through the process of filing your taxes. Here, again, you snap a photo of your tax documents; the app then coaches you through every step of the filing process, double-checking to ensure that you have entered all information correctly. TurboTax also checks for deductions and credits, and once your return arrives, it gets stored in the TurboTax Cloud. If you have questions, you can request assistance from a live agent right within the app. TurboTax is free to download, but it costs $29.99 for federal tax return filing and an additional $36.99 per state for state tax filing.
TaxCaster – iOS, Android, Windows Phone (Free)
The lightweight TaxCaster app helps you estimate your tax refund on the fly. Just enter the basic information about your lifestyle and business, and TaxCaster will estimate what you owe, and how much you can expect to get back. The app uses the same tax calculator you'll find in the desktop version of TurboTax to provide the estimates before you even file your taxes. Based on the information you provide, it can also recommend a product to help you complete the filing process.
Shoeboxed - iOS, Android (Free)
With Shoeboxed, keeping your receipts, bills and other financial documents organized is as easy as snapping a photo. Once you upload your document via the Shoeboxed app, it automatically extracts the important information, such as vendor, date, total and payment type. This creates a fully searchable digital database of your transactions. For small business owners, Shoeboxed will pay off in a major way at tax time. The app can save you time and money; managing paper documents yourself is time consuming, and hiring someone else to do it is expensive.
Evernote – iOS, Android, Windows Phone (Free)
More than just a robust note-taking tool, Evernote also offers a way to manage the documents you'll need to file your taxes. Because Evernote lets you easily store and organize images, you can scan in your receipts and then trash them. And because the app can read printed text, it's easy to search for a specific receipt. You have a few options for getting your receipts into Evernote. First, there's the pricey ScanSnap scanner, made by the Evernote developer, which directly scans in high-quality images and automatically uploads them to your Evernote account. For a cheaper solution, try the DocScanner app for iOS and Android, which you can use to "scan" in receipts by snapping a photo with your smartphone or tablet.
IDonatedIt – iOS, Android (Free)
Charitable donations are tax-deductible expenses. They reduce your taxable income and ultimately lower your tax bill. But tracking your donations throughout the year can be a chore. A mobile app called iDonatedIt streamlines the process by helping you document your donations quickly and easily. Just open the app when you donate a non-cash item to charity to track the donation date, the charity you donated to and the fair-market value of the item. By tax day, you will have a complete and permanent record of donated items that meets IRS compliance requirements. You can also attach photos of donated items and email the detailed donation report to yourself or your accountant.