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Just when you thought a computer tablet like an iPad was only good for Words with Friends or watching YouTube, there comes a legitimate use: help with preparing your taxes.
Poring over your tax forms with a calculator, pencil and a lot of frustration is so 2000.
Your tablet and even your smartphone can help you maneuver through the labyrinth that is the tax code. Here are some free apps for both iOS and Android that can help ease the seasonal pain of figuring out what the government's share of your income is.
TurboTax 2012/TurboTax SnapTax -- If you're brave enough to delve into doing your own taxes, this is the go-to app. Simply take a picture of your W-2 form with your tablet or smartphone's camera, and the app fills in many of the blanks automatically. Then you can go through step-by-step where your deductions are and how you are saving money. The app also allows you to e-file your returns for the fastest refund. It's free when you download it and you pay when you're done.
H&R Block -- H&R Block is the second most-used service for tax preparation after doing it yourself. They have a suite of free apps available to help with the process. One is the main "H&R Block" app, which allows you to upload your tax documents to a professional, get answers to questions, and it includes a calculator to estimate your refund and a glossary of tax terms.
If you make less than $100,000 per year and have no dependents, you can use "H&R Block 1040EZ," an app similar to TurboTax in which you can take a picture of your W-2 and the app can fill in the blanks. It works for both federal and state tax forms.
Download for Apple - http://bit.ly/Y2CtvS
Download for Android - http://bit.ly/12CDmkx
TaxACT -- TaxACT, the online tax preparation site is now available for computer tablets so you can prepare and file your taxes electronically without having to go to TaxACT's website on a mobile browser. Meanwhile, there is also a mobile companion app for smartphones called TaxACT Central that includes a checklist and lets you monitor the status of your return as well as access a help center for important tax questions.
Links for Android and Apple (iPhone and iPad) downloads - http://bit.ly/ZmJ7Sn
IRS2Go -- The official app for the Internal Revenue Service keeps you in contact with the agency. You can follow its Twitter feed, monitor your refund status, get tax updates and the latest news from the IRS.
Download for Apple - http://bit.ly/WS0QhP
Download for Android - http://bit.ly/151zJTm
TaxCaster by TurboTax -- Before you do your taxes, you may want an estimate for how much you might owe. This calculator app -- the same one used in TurboTax's regular app -- will tell you how much your refund will be. It also can figure out ahead of time what will happen to you at tax time if you take more money for taxes out of each paycheck or if you instead pay less each check.
iDonatedIt ($2.99) -- The only paid app on this list can otherwise save you a lot of money if you're a charitable sort. It allows you to keep track of any charitable donations you make so you can have a record of it all at tax time and need to calculate your charitable deduction. It can even keep track of the non-cash items you donated and what their fair-market value was when you donated them.
For more information to help you with your taxes go to our tax page in the Money section of KJRH.com.
(Reach Vince Horiuchi at firstname.lastname@example.org. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, shns.com.)
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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