Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Seven tax-saving apps for advisers / Put down your box of receipts and check out these tools

Darla Mercado for InvestmentNews.com writes:   Everyone can use a shortcut when doing taxes, and a few apps are grabbing advisers' attention as they find ways to save time and a few bucks on – or before – April 15.

One of the first was the Internal Revenue Service's IRS2Go, available on iPhone and Android since 2011. It lets people track the status of their tax refund.

But a variety of other tax-related apps have come out since then. The latest is HSA Coach, which launched Feb. 14. Developed by Aaron Benway and Denise Halter, the former finance chief and controller, respectively, at HelloWallet, this free app gives users a way to track their health care receipts throughout the year.
With this app, clients can avoid hauling around a shoebox of receipts when it's time to reimburse themselves through their health savings account or submit the receipts to get a qualified medical deduction. HSA Coach also tracks the amount of annual distributions from the HSA. 

The app makes sense when employers are reevaluating their health care arrangements and nudging workers toward an HSA with a high-deductible plan

“Something will happen to [most] people in the next five years,” Mr. Benway said. “Say you change jobs or your employer changes carriers. As a user, you lose all your data, and there's no business model to capture that information if they change from carrier A to carrier B.” 

Users can also store health-related documents by using the camera function on their phones.

Another app that's gained fans among advisers is MileIQ, which tracks mileage for those who travel and hope to use that data for necessary business deductions. 

Leonard C. Wright, a CPA and personal financial specialist in San Diego, says he got hooked on MileIQ after having to keep log books of his travel. Though he has tried other apps, they didn't fare as well. For instance, sometimes they would hit a dead zone and stop logging travel. 

MileIQ remotely stores client data and can divide travel into either business or personal mileage. And if you accidentally delete the app from your phone, you can still access your travel records online.

Though the app is free, the service Mr. Wright uses costs $60 a year.
“There are units you can put in your car, but those are really expensive,” he said. “And I don't want to spend $500 to $600 to have a tracking device installed in the car.”
Another expense-tracking app worth considering is Expensify. It's a favorite of Kelley C. Long, a CPA, personal financial specialist and resident financial planner at Financial Finesse Inc.   SNIP, the article continues @ Investment News, click here to continue reading....

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