Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Want to Make Taxes Easier? There's an App for That / These apps will help you file your return, track receipts and expenses year-round and more.

Molly McCluskey for US News World Report writes: It seems there are as many apps promising to ease the burden of tax time as there are taxpayers, and navigating them can be almost as overwhelming as itemizing deductions. From ones that let you file your return to others that help you track receipts and expenses year-round, here are some of the best apps, how much they cost and tips for who might find them the most useful.

Best Apps for Reference and Planning
Everyone knows the adage, "You get what you pay for." While that may be true in many cases, when it comes to the best apps for financial management at tax time, another one is more accurate: "The best things in life are free." 
IRS2Go app
The IRS2Go app is a great example of this. Most known for the handy refund status function, it also offers tax tips, YouTube videos and a listing of locations where taxpayers can get in-person assistance.
Another helpful app is Bloomberg BNA’s Quick Tax Reference, a handy and streamlined tool that offers basic information on personal exemptions, capital gains, tax information for estates and trusts, pension information and more. It's free to download and useful year-round for folks who want quick information without being bogged down.
Two of the more well-known tax advising apps, Ask a CPA and Ask a Tax Preparer, are also free and provide a wide variety of answers to the most common tax questions, ranging from the current year mileage rates, standard deductions, information on Health Savings Accounts and others. Compared with Bloomberg's app, they're easy to use and provide a much wider scope of tax and personal finance answers. Since users of these apps must agree to the terms and conditions, which include an aggressive marketing clause, they’re best for people who aren't worried about how their information will be used.
Best Apps for Tracking Receipts and Expenses
Even though April 15 rarely arrives without warning, many people still scramble at the last minute to track down elusive receipts, charitable write-offs or mileage counts. There are, of course, apps to helpkeep them all organized, but some come with so many bells and whistles that they may be abandoned as quickly as they're downloaded.
"The person who would normally just gather their receipts and dump them on the accountant's desk is not going to be the person who's going to input into a sophisticated app," says Kelly Phillips Erb, a tax attorney and blogger at "It doesn't make sense to buy an app that's really fancy that will do everything for you if you won't ever use it.”
For those people, Erb recommends simply using the camera function on theirsmartphone, then keeping the photos organized in something like Dropbox orEvernote, which both offer free accounts, free apps, Web-based services and the ability to easily share folders with a third party, such as an accountant or other tax professional.
For taxpayers who prefer more hands-on organization, Shoeboxed's app will scan and categorize receipts by amount, vendor and payment method, then file them according to tax category. The app creates expense reports and tracks mileage, and it also has a handy business card function.  SNIP.  The article continues @ US News World Report, click here to continue reading....


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