5 Financial Apps to Help Manage Your Taxes
Paper ledgers and ten-key machines are history. In this state-of-the-art digital age, 81 percent of accountants say they now work on mobile devices. So why should we show up to the accountant’s office each year with a shoebox full of receipts? The strategy for financial responsibility should be: stay organized, track expenses and file tax returns on time every year.
Here are some of the top apps, available for iPhone and Android to help achieve your goals and better manage your taxes. When choosing apps to help manage your taxes, remember that it should be easy to use, save you time and fit your budget!
This tool assists with your personal finances and budgeting, syncing all of your accounts in one place. Mint has a feature that tracks and categorizes everything you do with a credit or debit card, but you can also tag items manually. It even includes a categorization feature to help you track purchases that are tax deductible and sort them by type of expense.
There are also options to set up a budget and bill reminders. You can set financial goals such as saving up for a trip, paying off debt or buying a car. Mint also offers peace of mind by being passcode protected. If you lose or even temporarily misplace your device, you can simply log onto your Mint.com account and deactivate device access with one click. Kiplinger listed Mint on their list of 10 Great Saving Money-Saving Apps.
When preparing your taxes, it can be exhausting to remember all of the various tax-deductible donations you make throughout the year. And have you ever dropped off a bag of clothes at a charity and wondered what that bag of clothes was actually worth? Use iDonatedIt to track and value your non-cash charitable donations for income tax purposes. The app tracks the donation date, charity information and item description. It assigns a value, attaches a photo and emails a detailed donation report.
Ask A CPA
Receive instant answers to thousands of tax-related questions that are organized by category. If you don’t see your question in the archives, you can submit it and a local CPA can answer at no cost to you. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee of a response depending on your area. Still, the information in the archive alone is so thorough that the tool is worth downloading.
Ask A CPA is a great tax and business resource for individual taxpayers, business owners, accounting students and tax accountants — you can search for up-to-date answers to help you prepare this year’s tax return and stay informed on the latest tax changes. If you still need additional help, you can use the “Find A CPA” feature and search by zip code.
TurboTax Mobile App
Cost: Free (May be an additional charge when filing state taxes)
This app promises to have taxes done in 10 minutes. It works best for taxpayers who have W-2, interest or unemployment income, do not own a home and earned less than $100,000 ($120,000 for married filers). Even if you don’t qualify to file taxes with the app, you can still use it to snap pictures of your W-2 and 1099-INT forms and transfer the information to TurboTax’s online software, saving you from manually adding in the information.
The TurboTax Mobile App promises that you don’t need to be a tax expert. Simply snap a photo of your W-2, answer some simple questions and e-file securely from your phone or tablet. The app is also available in Spanish.
The IRS is not often thought of as a helpful agency, but with IRS2Go they can be. The app lets taxpayers check on the status of their refund, sign up for helpful tax tips or receive current IRS news through social media channels by using the Stay Connected feature.
To check the status of your taxes, you’ll need your Social Security number, ZIP code, filing status and the anticipated amount of your refund. The latest version of the app includes a status tracker to monitor where your return is in the process; for e-filed returns, you can check your status within 24 hours of filing (it takes up to four weeks to check the status of a paper return).
Protecting Data Shared in Mobile Apps
With cybercrime on the rise, there are some critical safety tips to remember to keep your financial information safe.
- Password protect your phone or mobile device.
- Connect to a secure network. Don’t enter personal information or access your tax apps when your phone is connected to public Wi-Fi, where your smartphone can be hacked.
- Double check all information if filing your taxes from your device. It’s easy to make fat-finger mistakes when using a touchscreen, and camera tools that pull information from photos can also generate errors.
- Verify with your carrier that you can remotely erase data on your phone if lost or stolen.
- Utilize a cloud back-up service for your data.
While at times there may be a need to hire a tax professional, these apps are tremendously valuable in helping those DIYers who can’t afford an accountant or bookkeeper. Hopefully these tips will help you on your way to balanced books.
Looking for more expert advice on top tax software and other must-have financial management tools? Head over to our research reports page to check out the variety of financial management software comparison charts designed exclusively by Business-Software.com to help you select the right software for your business needs.
[Photo courtesy of flickr user AgriLife Today.]