Software and mobile app ideas for 2018 tax season | SierraSun.com

Software and mobile app ideas for 2018 tax season

Staff Report
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Tax return documents: Form 1040 - U.S. individual income tax return form and Social Security number card.

With the advent of new technology, the number of people who file their taxes online has skyrocketed.

According to accountingweb.com, of the 128,789,000 total filings in 2017, 95 percent of them e-filed.

But there are myriad choices to file a tax return electronically. Choosing the best one can be a bit of a quandary.

According to money management publication, The Balance, here are some of the best choices for tax apps in 2018:

Intuit's Turbo Tax Absolute Zero:

Pros: Users can also take pictures of W-2 and 1099 forms, reducing the risk of errors on documents. It also offers professional help such as a "SmartLook" that puts individuals face-to-face with a tax expert.

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Good fit for business owners, with features such as importing employer tax IDs.

Cons: Program is free if a return, including Form1040EZ or Form 1040A. But anything outside of a "simple return" a person will have to pay for it.

It can be expensive, but experts and users agree it is worth it.

H&R Block Premium:

Pros: This program has just about everything TurboTax has at slightly less cost, although users generally prefer TurboTax.

H&R Block Premium offers online professional help, asking questions and deciphering answers as one prepares a tax return.

You can also have an H&R Block professional review a return for free if a person has purchased the software.

Cons: Although it offers professional help, at times the program may have problems deciphering answers efficiently.

Liberty Tax:

Pros: Liberty Tax software is geared for the experienced filer. Filers can choose what aspect of a return they want to work on and presented in chronological order.

The software will also offer recommendations and even warnings if there's information that could result in an IRS audit.

Cons: Program can't be downloaded on a computer and the interface is generic.

TaxAct Premium:

Pros: Unlike H&R Block and TurboTax it is inexpensive as well as a price lock guarantee. It offers live customer support along with hyperlinks words and phrases for more information or explanation. It also offers Life Events in case there are changes in tax situations from a year earlier.

Cons: It has fewer bells and whistles, although it can handle self-employment and investment income.

Credit Karma:

Pros: Despite being relatively new tax preparation software, it can handle complex tax returns. Preparers can work on aspects at random and asks questions and calculates filings.

Cons: Program interface is not as refined or streamlined, but not bad for being new. Preparers will encounter many ads while going through the preparing process.

Jackson Hewitt Premium:

Pros: Jackson Hewitt boasts a "wizard" that guides users throughout a return. It can cover just about every tax situation.

Cons: The program's efficiency can be erratic at times. The interface is not pleasing to the eye and is not streamlined as well as other programs.

TaxSlayer:

Pros: TaxSlayer offers a "QuickFile" option, appealing to those who don't want to input information in sequential order, and it is efficient.

Cons: It offers a "Guide Me" option, although it is slower, but methodical.

There are also some good apps out there to choose from according to carefulcents.com. (Note: Several of the above software programs, such as TurboTax and H&R Block, also have mobile apps.)

IRS2Go:

Interact with the IRS directly, via mobile phone, and get help from a qualified professional. It is also free for iPhone and Android devices.

GoDaddy Bookkeeping app (formerly outright):

Good for freelance business owners. Gives access to profit and loss information, as well as quarterly tax statements and Schedule C information.

Quickbooks Self-Employed app:

Specifically for freelancers and small business owners. It is easy to use to make complicated business tax return simple.

MileQ mobile app:

This app helps track traveling expenses for tax purposes. Users can track mileage as well as records of past trips.

It is available for $5.99 per month, but users can try it out free for up to 40 days.

iDontedIt app:

The app that keeps track of all non-cash charitable contributions. This app tracks the date of donation, the items donated, the charity you donated to, and the fair market values of your contributions.