10 Tax Filing, Expense Tracking Tools to Keep the IRS Happy

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-03-29
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Tax Filing, Expense Tracking Tools to Keep the IRS Happy
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    10 Tax Filing, Expense Tracking Tools to Keep the IRS Happy

    For those who prepare their own taxes or need to track their expenses for tax purposes, these 10 apps can simplify the processes and even save them money.
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    There Is Always the Old Favorite TurboTax
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    There Is Always the Old Favorite TurboTax

    Anyone looking to do their taxes from the comfort of their home can do so with Intuit's well-known TurboTax Tax Preparation app. The free app walks users through the process of filing their tax returns and even allows for an e-file submission. While the app is completely free to users who need to prepare and file a federal return, Intuit charges $30 for a single state return. Other tools, such as a business tax return, are also available as in-app purchases.
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    Mint Gets All Your Financial Records in Order
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    Mint Gets All Your Financial Records in Order

    Before it comes time to file taxes, however, users need to get their personal financial records in order. That's where the free Mint application comes in. The app integrates with bank accounts and can automatically track a person's budget, spending behavior, expenses and much more. At the end of each year, Mint provides an expense summary that can be used to input deductions on tax returns.
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    QuickBooks Shares Accounting Data With TurboTax
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    QuickBooks Shares Accounting Data With TurboTax

    QuickBooks is a must-have application for any business owner. Better yet, it comes from Intuit, the maker of TurboTax. So importing data into TurboTax is simple. With QuickBooks, business owners can invoice clients, keep track of their financial statements and manage expenses. Profit-and-loss statements are also just a click away. So, whether users want to do their own taxes or hire an accountant, QuickBooks is the tool many companies use to store the data needed to get the job done. It's available as a free download.
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    Why Walk Into an H&R Block Store?
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    Why Walk Into an H&R Block Store?

    H&R Block might operate perhaps the largest network of tax preparation offices in the world, but that doesn't mean it can't also offer a mobile app. In fact, the company's free mobile app allows users to prepare their taxes and file their federal forms for free. The app even includes a feature that lets users snap a picture of their W-2 form. The program then automatically analyzes the information and inputs the data into the correct tax return fields.
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    The IRS Helps Out With IRS2Go
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    The IRS Helps Out With IRS2Go

    The IRS doesn't come with the most full-featured app in this roundup, but it provides information the average tax payer might want to know. The free IRS2Go download asks users to input their Social Security numbers and other data to find out the status on their tax refunds. The app also supports mobile payments and provides free tax help.
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    Expensify Is a Necessity for Keeping Track of Deductible Expenses
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    Expensify Is a Necessity for Keeping Track of Deductible Expenses

    Expensify is another useful application for professionals who want to keep track of their deductible expenses. The free app specifically tracks those items that can be deducted on a tax return, like travel and meals. Users can also take pictures of receipts in the event of an audit. It's a must-have app for anyone trying to track his or her tax-deductible expenses.
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    Concur Is Another Way to Manage Expenses
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    Concur Is Another Way to Manage Expenses

    Like Expensify, Concur helps users keep track of tax-deductible expenses. In addition, it includes support for managing several users within a company, making it useful for business tax returns. Best of all, when users book airfare and hotels with the app, that information is automatically integrated, so it can be pulled out for tax expenses. Like the others, Concur is a free download.
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    Get Answers From a CPA Knowledge Base
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    Get Answers From a CPA Knowledge Base

    Ask A CPA Tax Answers is a useful program for do-it-yourselfers who are looking for help correctly filing their taxes. The app allows users to search through thousands of tax and accounting topics and get an answer within seconds. The app will also connect users with local CPAs to answer more sophisticated questions. There may be some cities or towns, however, that don't have participating CPAs.
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    Try to Figure Out How Much Your Refund Will Be
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    Try to Figure Out How Much Your Refund Will Be

    In addition to TurboTax, Intuit has designed an offshoot called TaxCaster, a free tax-refund calculator. Users need only input information about themselves, like whether they're married and their age, as well as data about their income and "tax breaks," and the app will automatically determine their tax burden. Not surprisingly, the app recommends users download TurboTax to file their taxes.
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    Tax Center Provides Detailed Answers to Your Questions
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    Tax Center Provides Detailed Answers to Your Questions

    Tax Center is another question-and-answer application, but it takes it a bit further. Developed by Bloomberg BNA, the free app provides detailed information and analysis of complex tax issues. While the app may be most useful to tax professionals, it's available to anyone who's interested in getting "expert analysis" on tax problems and doesn't necessarily want to talk to a CPA to get the answer.
 

The April 15 tax filing deadline is fast approaching. That means for the next three weeks U.S. taxpayers will be trying to overcome their procrastination and assemble the records they need to file their tax returns and either pay what they owe or look forward to getting some cash back. For years, individuals who have wanted to prepare their own taxes or even track their expenses to save every possible tax dollar have had a number of Internet-based applications available at their fingertips. Along with those online applications, there are now applications that run on mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, so users can work on their taxes wherever they are. Even the Internal Revenue Service is getting into the act by providing an application that enables taxpayers to find out when they should receive their refund and how to make payments. This slide show covers some of the better apps available to help iOS users prepare their tax returns and then manage their expenses year round to help save money and perhaps cut their tax bill or fatten their refund next year.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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