The big deadline to file your income taxes with the IRS is Monday, April 18. And if you’re like some of us, you’ve made procrastination an art form. Thankfully, there are a number of apps specifically designed to help you do your taxes the way you want to: on the couch, in your pajamas, with a bowl of ice cream in one hand and your iPad in the other.
Although it’s still more limited than we’d like, the current tax app selection for iPad is better than any other platform, meaning there are more choices out there to make your tax filing process as painless, accurate, and fast as possible. Who isn’t a fan of that? Below are our favorite iPad apps to help you file your income taxes.
After a few years of splitting apps up in a confusing format, H&R Block seems to have successfully consolidated its mobile offerings. The iPad now gets a fully featured tax filing app with H&R Block Tax Preparation. It allows users to prepare taxes right from the iPad, or switch between tablet and browser. The app offers a review process to make sure there are no issues with your filing and promises 100 percent coverage and full audit support should the numbers come into question. The latest update introduces the super convenient W-2 photo capture function, which enables you to snap a photo of your W-2 and let the app do the work of importing all the info. You shouldn’t have anything to worry about. H&R Block guarantees accuracy and a maximum refund, which is really all you should ask for from a tax app.
This is a dead simple app. Enter your information in the form, and it will give you a good estimate of what your tax refund might be this year. However, as we found out the hard way, this app does not work unless you’ve already filed your taxes (duh). It just tracks the status of your return, so if you’re counting the days until your tax return arrives it could be handy. This app from TurboTax is also available on iPhone and Android.
If there’s any source to trust when it comes to financial information, it’s Bloomberg. The company has put together a digital tax reference sheet with its Quick Tax Reference app. The app provides access to all of the information that you’ll need to have on hand when filing your taxes. Information like the 2015 tax rates and information on trickier topics like capital gains and estate taxes will make sure you aren’t giving up too much of your hard earned cash, while easy access to the corporate and individual tax schedules will make sure you don’t miss your deadline. This is a universal app on iOS, so it works with the iPad and iPhone.
This free app gives some basic tips about taxes in a number of categories, but it’s better if you have a specific question. You can ask any question for free, and if all goes well, you’ll get an answer. If you want a more reliable (and possibly more detailed) answer, there’s another app called My Pocket CPA, which also lets you ask a question, but charges a fee (starting from $10) per answer. We recommend My Pocket CPA if you have a more serious question, as it has a more detailed interface for asking. With Ask a CPA, you’re mostly limited to a text box.
Despite being the official app of the organization that handles your taxes, IRS2Go doesn’t have a ton to offer. You can check the status of your tax return after you’ve filed it and it provides tax tips should you happen to need any friendly advice. While the filing status tends to be more accurate than other apps with the same function, the most useful part of the app is the free tax preparation locator. For those who qualify, IRS programs like Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly can be a real godsend, and the app helps you find them close by. You’ll also get access to the IRS Twitter feed, just in case that’s a thing you feel like you’ve been missing in your life. This app is also available on the iPhone.
Intuit’s TurboTax is the most popular tax software around, and for good reason. Like all versions, the iPad TurboTax app is user friendly, looks wonderful, and will guide you through the entire process of filing your federal and state returns, step by step. It’s simple to use, but thorough, which is precisely what you want from a tax app. TurboTax for iPad allows you to scan your W-2 and proceeds to fill most stuff out for you. It’s added features like Touch ID — a convenient security measure, and SmartLook — a live on-screen video help option. TurboTax is tried and true, which is why it has the most positive reviews of any tax app out there. The people have spoken.
TaxACT Express is a tax preparation and filing app that allows you to file your federal and state taxes for free. Like its competition, this app allows you to prepare, print, and e-file your tax return for next to nothing. While it covers basic options encapsulating everything from your wage income to your education credits, its status as a “free” service limits it to just the basics. So, though filing through TaxACT is indeed free, the app likely won’t work for you if you need to file more complicated information — such as freelance work, for example. For those with simple tax needs, however, TaxACT provides a decent set of utilities at no cost, along with an easy-to-use interface and guaranteed accuracy.
This one is similar to TaxACT, without the completely free part. However, it includes features like scanning your driver’s license and taking photos of your W-2s to skip inputting a lot of your information, which actually work, for the most part. It’s similar to TaxACT in that it really only works for those with simple tax filing needs —except that TaxSlayer is even simpler. It’s only really able to process income, unemployment, and healthcare. However, we appreciated the app’s ease of use and those who have used TaxSlayer to effect appreciate its simplicity.
While the selection of apps on the iPad has expanded a little more this year, many of those additions are only viable if you’re working with a W-2 and maybe some healthcare information. This essentially means that, though the selection of apps for iPad is a bit better than for Android, it’s still pretty much a duopoly between H&R Block and TurboTax when it comes to taxes. Hopefully, more quality apps will be released by next year.
This article was originally published in April 2011 and updated on February 10, by Rachel Grozanick, to include TaxACT Express and TaxSlayer.
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