The days of shoeboxes overflowing with receipts, a table covered with ink-smudged tax forms and a printing calculator spitting out figures are over. Tax time, although never fun, is easier than ever thanks to mobile apps designed to help you keep track of your financial information, find answers to tough tax questions — and even file your return.
TurboTax SnapTax (iOS, Android; free, but filing fees vary)
Using a smartphone to file your taxes may sound tedious, but it's not, thanks to the SnapTax app from TurboTax. Instead of entering your information using your phone's virtual keyboard, all you have to do is use the app to snap a photo of your W-2 and the app automatically fills in your data for you. Answer a few additional questions, and your state and federal returns are ready to be filed, directly from SnapTax -- no computer necessary. The app is designed for 1040-EZ or 1040A filers with relatively simple tax situations.
H&R Block Mobile (iOS, Android; free)
The H&R Block mobile app won't let you file your taxes, but it can help you find someone who will. If you prefer to have professional help filing, the app helps you find the nearest H&R Block office and schedule an appointment, along with providing a handy calculator that estimates what your refund may be based on your input. Use the provided checklist to make sure you have all the required information before you go, and track your refund status afterward directly from the app.
Mint.com Personal Finance (iOS, Android; free)
Preparing your taxes is a lot less stressful if you've done a good job of tracking your finances throughout the year; that's where the Mint.com Personal Finance app comes in handy. In addition to its usual helpful features, like due-date reminders and banking integration, Mint allows you to file your expenses by category, so that you won't miss any important deductions when tax time rolls around. To make things even easier, TurboTax for the Web can import your financial data directly from Mint, saving you the time of entering everything individually.
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Ask a CPA (iOS; free)
If you prepare your taxes yourself, chances are that you probably don't have a CPA on speed-dial ready to answer every tax question that might crop up. With Ask a CPA, you don't need one -- this free app contains a database of thousands of tax and accounting questions with answers from real accountants. If your question isn't in there, no problem -- just enter it into the "Ask a CPA" box, and you'll get an answer from an accountant in your area.
Bloomberg BNA Quick Tax Reference (iOS, Android, BlackBerry; free)
Quick Tax Reference from Bloomberg BNA may look plain on the outside, but inside you'll find an accurate and complete reference for current tax issues, including standard mileage rates, individual tax rate schedules, deductions, exemptions and more. Each reference includes easy-to-use calculators and tables designed to help you quickly and easily figure out your own tax situation. If you want to compare rates with previous tax years, the app allows you to see data back to 2011.
IRS2Go (iOS, Android; free)
IRS2Go is the official mobile app of the Internal Revenue Service. Although several of the options are simply shortcuts to the mobile IRS homepage, it does have two in-app features worth checking out. Anxious filers can check the status of a refund directly from within the app by providing their Social Security Number, filing status, and refund amount. You can also order a copy of your tax record from the app, which will be mailed to you within a few business days.