Wednesday, January 25, 2012

5 Android Apps to Make Taxes a Little Easier

I am definitely a gadget junky and Android fanboy (sorry iOS lovers, maybe I'll write a post for you later, but don't hold your breath). I love apps and am constantly looking for apps that are new, fun, helpful or just cool. In my constant search for new apps, I've discovered the following 5 apps that I thought were worth mentioning as we head into the thick of tax season. So let's dig right in...

1. BNA Quick Tax Reference

I have this one currently installed and I find it helpful. This is especially helpful for tax preparers. If you've ever seen one of the cheat sheets that show mileage rates, tax tables, standard deductions, etc. this is the digital app form. Pretty handy to have all of that information in your pocket. The coolest feature is the Tax Rate Schedules where you can plug in some information and calculate your Federal tax liability. Just remember that if you itemize you will have to adjust accordingly. BNA produces some high quality (and high price) tax planning software for tax pros. I think they did a pretty decent job with this app and I really appreciate that it is free.

2. Taxcaster

Taxcaster is an app from Turbotax. There is plenty good and bad to say about Turbotax, but I’ll leave that for another time. This app is pretty cool, especially in the interface they have designed. You can slide the bars to your income level and withholdings to get a quick idea of how much tax you either owe or can expect in a refund. The meter at the top moves automatically each time you change a number.

Like BNA, this is just a tool to approximate your taxes. I wouldn’t make any firm decisions based on them since they are definitely oversimplified models and your situation could be drastically different.

3. IRS2Go

This is an app the IRS put out last year mainly for checking on refund status. It doesn’t have a whole lot of functionality beyond that. You can sign up for tax tips and read IRS twitter updates if you so choose.

4. TaxRegs & TaxCode

Yep, it’s all here. Federal Regs & Code. Here’s the creators description, “The short story, I was tired of trying to find the Code on the web so I created this app.” I would definitely say this is an app for the pros. Unless, of course, you have insomnia in which case reading tax regulations is the perfect cure.

5. EITC Finder

Whether you are a preparer looking for an on the go way of calculating whether a client qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit or you are a taxpayer looking to figure it out yourself, this app can help. It is from Intuit, definitely a trusted name in accounting software. It has a decent layout and interface. Since it is a highly specific app it obviously won’t appeal to everyone.