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They say only two things in life are certain—death and taxes—and no one looks forward to either one of them.
Roughly 69 percent of people are fearful about some aspect of preparing their taxes, according to a Nerd Wallet/Harris Poll survey released this February. Novice tax-payers may worry that a calculation error could leave precious tax refund money on the table. If you’re an experienced tax filer, having dependents or a mortgage can make for a complicated tax return where it’s easy to make a mistake. Being self-employed or having more than one employer can further convolute things.
Luckily, technology can make tax season more error-free, if not less painful. We’ve looked at a bevy of tax apps that can help the e-filing process run far more smoothly. There are tools that will help you look up your refund check, organize your receipts, and itemize things like donations and travel mileage.
With the right amount of preparation, you’ll wake up on April 15 with not a care in the world.
Here are four essential apps for tax season.
If you’re not a regular user of Digit, think of it as the well-meaning grandmother of an online savings tool: It will regularly set aside $5 to $50 dollars to your savings account before you even have to think about it.
The app connects to your banking account and analyzes your income to find potential areas of savings. Digit has a new feature that allows users to automate saving a portion of their tax refunds. Once your tax refund hits your bank account, you’ll receive a text message from Digit asking what percentage of your refund you want to transfer to your savings account. Just type in the magic amount, hit send, and you’re several steps closer to that dream vacation.
Digit is compatible with both iOS and Android phone numbers. You can sign up here.
2) ItsDeductible Donation Tracker
It’s easy to lose track of hours spent volunteering or items donated to Goodwill. With the ItsDeductible Donation Tracker app, you can log the value of your tax-deductible donations and travel mileage. The TurboTax companion app lets you categorize donations into separate categories (such as clothing and accessories) as well as search by date and location.
ItsDeductible Donation Tracker is available for iOS .
It’s likely you know a meticulous spender out there who saves every single paper receipt. Perhaps you are one. If you own a business, it’s necessary to save receipts to keep track of the many expenses that can qualify for a deduction. With the OneReceipt app, you’ll never have to save a physical receipt again. The app lets you categorize purchases by location, value, item, and date.
If all you need to do is file a simple 1040 EZ, the Tax Slayer app is an easy and convenient way to do it for free. The app will walk you through the different sections of the form through an easy to use question and answer format. It also takes into account Affordable Care Act tax provisions that may effect your tax return. You can scan your W-2 and your driver’s license to make filing even faster.
Photo via MoneyBlogNewz/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Amrita Khalid is a technology and politics reporter who specializes in breaking down complex issues into practical, useful terms. A former contributor to CQ, a Congressional news and analysis site, she's currently a master's candidate in international relations at the University of Leeds.