Android and the iPhone is the best tax-producing applications

Thursday, April 12th 2012. | Gadget News

turbo-tax-snap-tax-app-650x345The deadline for filing your taxes is days away, at best. For those of you with active lifestyles, or an aversion to actual computers, we bring you five of our favorite tax apps. We’ve found Android and iPhone apps for estimating taxes, checking on refunds, filing your taxes, and answering your many questions.

It’s that time of the year again, when you have two days left and you’re taxes still aren’t done. Luckily, mine are, so I have time to share a few apps with you. We’ve compiled five of the best Android and iPhone apps for managing different aspects of filing your taxes on the go. Some of these apps help estimating taxes or checking on refunds, one will actually file your taxes, and two contain helpful reference material. In any case, make sure you e-file your taxes if you’d like to get your refund within 10 days.
IRS2Go

The IRS needs to learn how the Web works. It does not yet know how to remove the “www.” from its Web address (heading to http://irs.gov is a dead end). With that said, it’s lack of Internet prowess hasn’t stopped it from releasing an official IRS smartphone app this year for Android and iOS devices. While the app is pretty bare bones and doesn’t allow you to file your taxes on your smartphone, it does let you check the status of your tax refund and get updates from the IRS. It also has numbers and times when you can call and ask questions. If you e-filed your taxes, you can check on their status in this app within 72 hours. You can download IRS2Go for free on the Google Play store or iTunes.

H&R Block Tax Central

If the IRS app isn’t doing it for you, H&R Block has a free, more fully featured, app available on Android. Tax Central will let you check your refund status, but also has a Help section full of terms and answers to basic tax questions and a checklist feature that helps you create a tax filing to-do list for yourself. Many users have complained that the Tax Estimator is a bit inaccurate. We recommend you use it for broad purposes only. The Tax Quiz is purely there for entertainment. Still, if you have some basic questions that you want to research on the go, H&R Block’s Tax Central may be a good option. More information and links to download it on the various app stores can be found here.

TurboTax SnapTax

If you’re taxes are excessively simple (just one job, one state of employment, no deductions, make you less than $80,000, etc), the TurboTax SnapTax may be the best way for you to file your taxes. It allows you to answer some basic questions, make a profile, and take a photo of your W-2. In theory, you could finish your taxes in minutes. Not sure if you’re qualified? It’s a free download and after you answer some basic questions, it will tell you if you can use the mobile app to continue or if you need to use the full online version of TurboTax to proceed. If you are capable of using the phone, you’ll have to download a $19.99 key to file.

The only downside to SnapTax is its simplicity. Sometimes the app doesn’t explain, in full, why it has rejected your application and it only gives you two options once you finish: continue online or start over. Starting over erases all of the, admittedly short, work you’ve just done. Still, SnapTax is the best option (and possibly only) for filing taxes on a smartphone. It is available on the Android and iPhone app stores. Download SnapTax here.

BNA Quick Tax Reference

Like IRS2Go, this app isn’t pretty and it doesn’t explain itself well. However, it does provide some valuable reference material, should you need it. Mileage rates, corporate tax rate schedules, individual tax rate schedules, standard deductions, retirement plan limits, and more are all in here in unfiltered tables. Head here for links to download or to learn more.

TaxCaster

Yes, this is another TurboTax app, but it is a bit easier to use and more detailed than H&R Block’s Tax Central Tax Calculator. TurboTax is the leader in its category for a reason; its apps are functional, pretty, and easy to use. Obviously, this is an app for those with relatively simple taxes and a single job. You don’t have to sign up to use it. Simply enter your wages, marital status, earnings, and deductions and TaxCaster pumps out a quick estimate of what you kind of refund you might receive. The app is available on Android and iPhone, but if you’re bored, an online version is available as well.

That’s about it…

While we’re impressed by the array of smartphone apps that TurboTax offers — SnapTax, MyTaxRefund, and TaxCaster — no other apps currently offer the ability to file using your phone. We’re not quite sure you want to file on your smartphone, but it would be nice to have a few more options. Hopefully app makers will get on the ball when next tax season rolls around.

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