These days, your smartphone is more of a mini computer than a phone. You do everything from order food to pay bills using apps on your phone, so doing your taxes via an app could be the next natural step. GOBankingRates has rounded up the following tax apps will help you prepare — and in some cases even file — your tax return, all without having to turn on the computer.
As you might have guessed, many of the major players in the tax preparation industry each have come up with a tax preparation app. This year’s best tax apps are easier to use and more powerful than ever. They can gather your tax information, import your W2 with just a click, and some can even use e-filing to submit your tax return to the Internal Revenue Service. Read on to learn more about the best services for filing your taxes using an app.
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The following top tax apps allow you to do your tax preparation right from your mobile device. Check out the details on each so you can determine the best tax app for your needs:
Intuit TurboTax Mobile App
Inuit TurboTax offers several versions of tax preparation services through its desktop tax prep software, but TurboTax also offers a mobile app called TurboTax Mobile. Input your data, then answer the questions to get your taxes done even if you don’t know anything about tax law. The TurboTax app is available from Apple’s App Store and Google Play. It’s free to download, but might charge you to file. Note that TurboTax no longer supports the MyTaxRefund app. See the IRS2Go app for similar functionality.
- Free to download
- Free to file federal taxes when using Form 1040EZ or Form 1040A
- Imports your W2 via your phone’s camera
- Might have to pay when you file
- Hefty processing fee if you pay for TurboTax out of your refund
H&R Block Tax Prep
The H&R Block app is also free to download. It comes with free federal e-file for simple returns, but you’ll have to pay to file state returns and federal returns with itemized deductions. The H&R Block Tax Prep app lets you switch back and forth between the app and online filing, so you can start in the app and finish at your computer, or vice versa. The app is available in the App Store and Google Play store.
- Free to download
- Switch between app and online filing
- Photo import for W2s and other tax documents
- Can import last year’s returns
- Prone to crashes and freezing
- Pricey state returns
TaxAct Express is available at the Apple App Store and Google Play. You can prepare and e-file your federal and state tax returns right from the mobile app. The app is free to download, and it offers a free upfront interview to see if the app is right for your situation, instead of hitting you with an upgrade charge in the middle of filing.
- Free upfront interview prevents in-app upgrade surprises
- Photo or manual tax document import
- Simple questions for easy filing
- Doesn’t save sessions
- Charges full price for finishing and filing your taxes online
TaxSlayer Go offers free tax filing for basic returns. Like other tax apps, you can import your W2 information by snapping a picture. Then scroll through various questions to get your taxes done on your mobile device. Downloading the app is free, but you’ll pay to file your taxes.
- Easy data import
- Driver’s license scan for entering personal information
- Imports previous year’s returns
- 50 percent discount for active military personnel
- Only free file is for 1040EZ form
The IRS has its own tax app. IRS2Go doesn’t actually file your taxes, but you can use it to check your refund status or make payments if you’re on a payment plan. You can also use the app to find free in-person tax help near you. The IRS app will link you over to IRS Free File if your income is below $64,000.
- Easy way to check refund status
- Easy payment options
- Official app of the IRS
- Can’t file your taxes without transferring to IRS Free File on a computer
For those who aren’t too sure about doing their own taxes, there’s a suitable app called Taxfyle. Taxfyle is different than the do-it-yourself apps. First, you’ll answer some questions and upload some basic documents, then Taxfyle matches you with real-life tax professionals who will do your taxes for you. Use the app to upload your tax records and communicate with your tax pro.
- Professional tax preparation
- Handles business tax returns and complicated returns
- Provides upfront price quote
- Costs more than other options
Before you can do your taxes, you need to collect all of your records. For the self-employed, QuickBooks Self-Employed ensures that you have all of the records you need to file self-employment tax forms and get all the deductions you’re entitled to. Although the mobile app is free from both the App Store and Google Play, you’ll need a $10-per-month subscription after the free trial ends.
- Automatically tracks mileage using GPS
- Tracks expenses
- Stores receipts from photos
- Requires subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed Plan
Everlance Mileage Tracker
The mileage deduction can be a big one for many taxpayers. Everlance Mileage Tracker is a great tax-deductible mileage tracker for anyone who doesn’t need the full-scale expense tracking of QuickBooks Self-Employed and doesn’t want to pay for expense tracking. A simple swiping feature allows you to categorize trips as business, personal, or charity. Everlance is available on the App Store or Google Play.
- Always-on automatic tracking
- Easy to export data for tax time
- Easy swipe feature for categorizing trips
- GPS not always completely accurate
- Might cause battery to drain faster
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It doesn’t track mileage, but the free IQBOXY app is an intriguing choice for keeping track of receipts and other paper records. When it works properly, it feels like magic. Take a picture of your receipt, and the app uses optical character recognition to automatically input the data so you don’t have to type it in.
- Automatic receipt entry via a picture
- Unlimited document storage
- Exports to Excel, CSV or PDF for delivery to your accountant
- Pricey at $9.99 per month for OCR version
Imagine knowing what your taxes will look like before you file them. That’s the idea behind TaxCaster. TaxCaster takes the information you have so far about your tax situation and calculates an estimate of your tax liability. The app is particularly useful for small business owners looking at whether their estimated quarterly tax payments are enough. In addition, it can help those with traditional jobs see if they should change their W4 withholding. It’s free from the App Store, Google Play or the Amazon Appstore.
- Easy to use
- Only gives estimates
- Data can’t be imported into tax products later
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