It’s April 8 and I haven’t started on my taxes yet. They’re due in about a week, but a combination of travel, the workload here at VentureBeat, and the general fear of what I owe have kept me from taking the first step.
Thankfully, it’s now easier than ever to tackle my taxes, courtesy of a slew of new mobile tax apps. Computers have simplified taxes beyond the dark days of pen and paper, first with boxed software, then with online solutions that were able to keep information from the previous year’s taxes. But now, if you’re lucky, you can get the job done simply by snapping a photo of your W2 with your phone.
If your taxes are fairly simple, and you normally file a 1040EZ form, then Snaptax is the easiest way to get the ordeal over with. The app lets you snap a photo of your W2 form to instantly populate the relevant information. I tried the app on my forms and all the information, including complicated numbers like my employer’s federal ID, was accurate.
Sure, it doesn’t take much time to fill in your W2 information into a typical tax program or site, but there’s a certain wow factor to being able to file your taxes from your phone. (For an alternative app that works similarly, check out H&R Block at Home 1040EZ.)
If you’re curious about what you owe in taxes, or will receive as a refund, Taxcaster lets you quickly plug in your income and financial situation to get an estimate. It’s certainly not as accurate as a full-fledged tax program, but for a quick guess, it’s enough to steer you away from big purchases until your taxes are done.
Turbotax for iPad
If you need something more than SnapTax, Intuit has brought pretty much all of the features of its popular TurboTax desktop software over to the iPad. This year, for the first time, the company is also offering free tax advice through the app via a network of 700 tax specialists.
The app can also import your previous year’s tax information. If you have old tax files stored on your computer, you can import them into the Turbotax iPad app via iTunes.
Free for iPad (pay to file federal and state)
It’s terribly named, but the official IRS app offers a ton of useful features. You can use it to track your return and when you can expect a check, plus you can also request a previous year’s tax return.
Other tax apps worth mentioning
EITC Finder (free) will make sure you don’t miss out on the Earned Income Tax Credit, which could grant you up to $5,700 if you make under $49,000. And if you still need time to file your taxes, Easy Extension (free) offers the simplest way to file a tax extension with the IRS.
Tax piggy bank image via Shutterstock