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What Classifies a "Tax App"?
If you have an iPhone, you've probably realized that it can be simultaneously the most legitimately helpful device in the world, and the most legitimately time-wasting device in the world. When I talk about a "tax app" I'm not talking about those goofy sales tax calculators or anything like that; I'm talking about the big thing that everyone dreads every year: filing taxes. These apps are not little novelties or things to calculate hypothetical scenarios and light subjects like that, nor will they serve as entertainment. They will, however, speed up the tax filing process for you, give you an idea of your return earlier, and make sure you don't make any mistakes while filing. This is why they were made, and this is why I'm calling them the top three iPhone tax apps on the market right now.
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So first up we have a little something called "TaxCaster", which isn't so much an app to help you file taxes as it is an app to help you prepare for filing, and makes sure you don't get stuck in a financial rut come next April. So how does it work? Well, without needing any physical documents like receipts or W2s, TaxCaster can take things like an income estimate, estimates on marriage and other life statuses, and then put it all together to tell you about how much you can expect to receive in your return.
So... Why Do I Care? Maybe you're not part of this crowd, but a lot of people have things in their lives that get incredibly financially unstable. Such times can rely heavily on a tax refund to get you through, and if you think you're going to get more money than you end up getting, you're pretty much stuck in terms of things like paying bills or buying food. Knowing about how much you're going to get in returns helps you plan out how much you should spend now to make sure you keep up with financial responsibilities.
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The last app we looked at was made by tax-help company TurboTax, and this next one is made by the very-popular H&R Block. Unlike TaxCaster, this one isn't about forecasting and preparing you for tax season; this one is about helping you when you need it at the last second and you have many unanswered questions. So how does it do this?
For starters, it has a huge, browse-able library of frequently asked tax questions to sort through, so the first thing you'll want to do when you get stuck is to search through there for an answer -- whether you need to know what sort of form to file or what tax bracket you're part of etc. -- and if you still don't find what you're looking for, they have a help center where you can send your question to live representatives and they'll get back to you "within 24 hours." According to most people who've used it, the responses are usually much quicker than that, though I suppose HR Block are just covering themselves in case they really need all that extra time.
But, what if your question isn't a question at all? What if you just saw something on one of your tax forms that you don't understand? Well, this app handles that as well. There's a massive, searchable glossary of words for you to look through if you need help there as well. The best part about all of this? As with all the other apps here, this is totally and completely free to use.
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Shoeboxed Receipt Tracker
So, we've covered you in preparing for tax time, answering your question during tax time, but what about the process that comes immediately before you start filing? The process known as "gathering all of those old receipts and trying to organize them!" That's where this last app comes in handy. Shoeboxed Receipt Tracker, a free tax app for iPhone, does pretty much what everyone hates doing: Organizing receipts. With this little tracker, you can take pictures of your receipts and the app will automatically categorize and archive them in easily readable form for you to get at later on.
The icing on the cake? Aside from the fact that you don't have to manually enter the information, these digital receipts can be sent right to the IRS to help with income taxes, and you can just throw all the old receipts into a shoebox and never worry about them again! On top of all of this, it comes with free phone and email support, so if you ever get stuck doing something or need some help, it's just a few clicks away.
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All images/information come from these following purchase links: