Tax season is one of those things you either love or hate, depending on whether you’re expecting a big refund or having to cough up more money to Uncle Sam. Between waiting for your W-2s to arrive in the mail, getting all of your paperwork together and finding those lost receipts, completing your return can be a major hassle.

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Close to 30 million people filed their taxes from a home computer last year, but wrapping things up on your smartphone or iPad may be the wave of the future. There are scores of apps out there that are designed to take the guesswork out of filing, but which ones are worth the download and time? To make it easier, MyBankTracker has rounded up what we think are the six best tax apps to help you prepare for your taxes.

turbo tax

1. TurboTax Mobile App

Best for: Filing your taxes on the go

Available on: iPhone and Android

Cost: Free to download, free to file simple returns

The TurboTax Mobile App is ideal if you’ve got a fairly straightforward return and you want the convenience of being able to file your taxes anytime, from anywhere. You use your phone or tablet to take a picture of your W-2 and the app uses the information to fill in your return. It walks you through a series of questions to help determine your filing status, see which credits you’re eligible for and add up your deductions.

If you’re concerned about security, any information you store in the app is encrypted and protected by a unique password that you choose.

It won’t cost you anything to file a 1040EZ or 1040A and pricing starts at $34.99 for more complicated returns.

While we know that not everyone’s crazy about the idea of doing their taxes on their phone, we think the TurboTax mobile app has a lot of appeal, especially for tech-savvy millennials and first-time filers.


Best for: Those who want to track their refund

Available on: iPhone and Android

Cost: Free

Once you’ve got your return filed, it’s time to play the waiting game to see when that fat refund check is going to hit your bank account.

With the IRS2Go app, you’ll be able to see where your return is, in terms of processing and get an estimate of how long it’s going to take to get your money.

The app also includes some additional tools for taxpayers who need to request a transcript for a prior year’s return or search for tax assistance in their local area.

expensify3. Expensify

Best for: Those who travel frequently or need help organizing receipts

Available on: iPhone, Android and Windows phone

Cost: Free

We’ve sung Expensify‘s praises before, and as far as expense tracking apps go, it’s definitely one of the best.

If you travel frequently for your job, purchase supplies for your small business or incur expenses related to volunteer work, Expensify lets you organize all of your receipts right on your mobile device. You just snap a picture of the receipt and the app’s SmartScan feature automatically uploads it to your account and records the expense details.

You can also use Expensify to record your travel itinerary, keep records of expenses related to your time and create expense reports that you can export to other record-keeping software like QuickBooks.

As an added plus, travelers can use the SmartRides feature to coordinate airport pickups from Uber in selected cities so you’re never stuck waiting for a cab.

bloomberg4. Bloomberg BNA’s Quick Tax Reference App

Best for: Your burning tax questions

Available on: iPhone and Android

Cost: Free

The U.S. tax code is somewhere in the neighborhood of 74,000 pages long and trying to slog through it all just to do a basic return doesn’t make sense.

You could hire an accountant to handle your filing, Google it or spend hours on hold with the IRS help desk but there’s a better way to get your tax questions answered.

Bloomberg BNA’s Quick Tax Reference App contains answers to all your tax questions relating to mileage deductions, standard deductions and exemptions, individual tax rates, estate and gift taxes and retirement plans.

If you’re doing your taxes yourself and you need to know what the standard mileage rate is or how much of an exemption you qualify for, the app’s got all the information you’re looking for.

trip log5. TripLog

Best for: Tracking vehicle business miles

Available on: iPhone and Android

Cost: Free for basic plan

If you regularly drive your personal vehicle for business purposes, the miles you put on your car can equal a sizable tax deduction.

In order to write them off, the IRS requires you to keep a mileage log of your travel, along with receipts for things like gas, oil and tolls. The TripLog app is a great pick if you need to record your business mileages and other expenses so you can maximize your deduction.

At the basic level, you’ll be to track your mileage automatically using your mobile device’s GPS, plot your driving route on a map and input your fuel expenses.

If you upgrade to the business plan, which costs $25 annually, you can do a lot more, including recording receipts, syncing your data with other devices, recording your odometer readings and creating IRS compliant mileage reports. If you spend a lot of your time on the road, that’s a pretty small price to pay to make sure you’re getting the biggest write-off possible.

turbo tax image6. ItsDeductible

Best for: Keeping track of deductions

Available on: iPhone and Online

Cost: Free

Itemizing instead of taking the standard deduction usually pays off if: you’ve got a lot of business expenses, you want to write off your mortgage interest, you paid a lot of medical expenses over the last year or you gave big bucks to charity. There are lots of apps designed to keep tabs on charitable donations but the one we like the best is the ItsDeductible from TurboTax.

The app lets you record donations of cash or property, as well as your mileage and expenses associated with volunteering. If you donated clothing, household goods or other items, the app estimates the item’s fair market value for you so don’t have to guess at what it’s worth.

It’ll also flag donations that may increase your audit risk so you don’t end up in hot water with the IRS.

We made our picks for the best tax apps based on function, cost and ease of use but we know there are lots of others out there. If you’ve got a favorite tax app we haven’t mentioned, let us know in the comments below.

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