Tax time can be stressful for small business owners who have lots of expenses and limited budgets. Fortunately, there are a number of mobile tools that can take the burden out of filing.
Here are some free apps that can help streamline your relationship with the IRS.
Mint: Free from Intuit Inc., this small business app specializes in tracking expenses. In addition to organizing each transaction, the app presents the data as easy-to-read graphs and charts. Great for entrepreneurs, Mint lets you know where your money is going, while also providing forecasting features, so you can plan out a long-term strategy for expenses and savings.
Expensify: Designed for desktop and mobile devices, Expensify allows business owners and their employees to track every expense by snapping photos of receipts. It can also keep tabs on employee mileage using GPS technology. Expensify even allows employers to reimburse their workers from inside the app. Best of all, the app integrates with popular accounting software for easy data management during tax time.
IRS2Go: The federal government's tax app is mostly known for offering a handy, real-time refund status function. It also offers useful tax tips, along with easy-to-follow YouTube videos and a detailed listing of local brick-and-mortar locations where small business owners can get in-person assistance.
Bloomberg BNA’s Quick Tax Reference: This streamlined tool is a lifesaver for small business owners who want quick information without being bogged down with needless data. Users enjoy easy access to current standard mileage rates, retirement plan limits, corporate tax rate schedules, individual tax rate schedules, tax code pensions, ERISA, trusts/estate and gift taxes, and dividends/capital gains taxed as net capital gain.
H&R Block Mobile: This convenient app connects you directly to tax pros to ease the filing process. You can upload pictures and documents to the agents. You can also view returns from previous years and generate a customized checklist of required documents. H&R Block Mobile also allows you to check the status of your return and estimate the amount using a built-in calculator.
Shoeboxed: This app is ideal for storing bills, receipts and other financial documents. Simply snap a photo and upload your document. The app automatically spots key information, such as payment type, total, date and vendor. It then creates a searchable digital database. In addition to paying off big at tax time, Shoeboxed saves you money and time by managing your paper documents instead of a hired professional.
The best tax apps are worthless if you refuse to use them. While April 15 never arrives without warning, many business owners still find themselves scrambling to track down mileage counts, charitable write-offs and receipts. If you are the type of person who dumps a shoebox full of receipts on your accountant's desk, a sophisticated tax app will probably offer little benefit.
In this case, you might be better off using your smartphone camera to snap photos of your expenses and organize them in Evernote or Dropbox, which both offer free apps and free accounts. This will allow you to easily share cloud-based folders with your accountant or some other tax professional. On the other hand, it might also be a good idea to upgrade your tactics by embracing new technologies that take the headache out of record-keeping.