Tax apps. Technology never ceases to amaze me. My husband’s younger siblings run their entire lives on their iPhones, so it’s only natural that the younger generation will also prepare their taxes on their smartphones. And that year has arrived; the first tax filing app is now available!
In my quest to appear young and cool to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law in their early 20s, I decided to download all the hot tax apps on my Android phone and see which ones are actually helpful for your tax preparation.
Of course, when I tell them I did this, they’ll remind me that the pure fact that I was checking out tax apps, will make me uncool and old.
5 Tax Apps to Check Out
I downloaded every single tax app I could find. Here are the tax apps I found helpful.
- Snap Tax. From TurboTax . Use your phone to take a picture of your W2 form . You can actually file a simple 1040EZ tax return  using this app if you have no dependents and an income less than $80,000. I tried to file one of my kids tax returns  using SnapTax to see how it works. It offers an efile  option and a paper file option. The picture function was impressive. I assumed that the return on the tax app would sync with my Turbo Tax  account, so that you can use the picture function to load all of your W2s  and 1099s . But that wasn’t the case, which was disappointing, as it would be a fast way to load all of your data. This app is free to play with; when you’re finished you’ll need the TurboTax SnapTax Filing Key to file for $14.99. For the iPhone and Android.
- IRS2Go. This simple IRS tax app is to check on your tax refund status . To check your refund status you’ll need your SSN, filing status and refund amount. The app also includes an option to subscribe to tax tips by email. Free; for iPhone and Android.
- Tax Caster. Another tax app from TurboTax . The Turbotax estimator is a fun tax estimator. My favorite part is the recommendation on the bottom of the app for which TurboTax  software you need, as it’s always a common question people have. It changed from the SnapTax app to TurboTax Premier  to Home and Business  as I added additional pieces of income. However, I wish you could somehow integrate your answers with your TurboTax  software. Free; for iphone and android.
- H&R Block Tax Central. The H&R Block  tax app consists of a tax estimator, help center, checklist and quiz. The estimator is fun to play with using the sliding bars, but the instant answers section needs some work. It found a couple routine answers to questions I asked, but it wasn’t quite what I expected. The checklist tool is handy, as almost everyone forgets a piece of information when they begin their taxes. It also includes a tax quiz, which, to be honest, is a little strange. You can email yourself the results of the tax estimator in text form, but the integration with the H&R tax software  I was hoping for again, wasn’t there. Free; for iPhone and Android.
- Shoeboxed. Here’s the modern answer to the shoebox full of receipts. Take pictures of your receipts and the data is extracted and verified by humans. The app integrates with your online Shoeboxed  account. 30 day free trial; for iPhone tax app only. Now if only they’d develop an Android version so I can have it too without having to borrow a friend’s iPhone!
There were also plenty of tax apps that I downloaded that were a waste of time, including many of the tax calculator apps. I won’t bore you with the details of those.
Since this is the first year that filing using a tax app is available, I expect a lot more to come in the future, and the Turbo tax apps are clearly the frontrunners.
If you find other helpful tax apps, let me know!