Five Helpful Tools for Tax Prep

Adam Carlat |

Tax preparation tools and products continue to evolve even more quickly than the federal tax code itself. Which tax prep tools are worth the hype, and which may be passed over? Below we discuss five high-tech tools to help make tax time as simple and streamlined as possible.

Receipt-Organizing Apps

If you're deciding whether it makes more sense to itemize your deductions, it may be time-intensive to track down all the receipts needed to determine which option is preferable. Receipt-organizing apps may automatically create and store digital files of your receipts, helping you sort transactions by category and determine whether you're better served by taking the standard deduction or itemizing your deductions.

The IRS2Go App

As the official app of the Internal Revenue Service, the IRS2Go app provides tax filers with a one-stop shop for tracking refunds and returns, requesting an extension, finding tax prep assistance, arranging payments for estimated taxes, or even contacting an IRS representative. Downloading this app before the next tax season may help you get a head start on the preparation process.

Digital Filing Cabinet Apps

If you've ever had to track down a transaction from more than a year or two ago, you could find yourself hitting an e-statement wall. Many banks and financial institutions don't provide free e-statement access beyond a certain period after the statement is generated. By saving these statements to a digital filing cabinet app as soon as they're generated, you may ensure consistent (and fee-free) access to the financial statements you need.

Scanning Apps

Scanning and saving documents on a traditional scanner may be a time-consuming, unwieldy process. By downloading a scanning app to your phone or tablet, you may be able to quickly scan documents by snapping a photo. You're then free to save the document to a cloud drive, email it to yourself (or your tax preparer), or take any other steps you'd like to preserve this sensitive information.

Tax Preparation Software

Whether you use an online tax prep service to prepare and file your taxes or just like to use their calculators to estimate your tax liability (or check your estimates) before taking your information to the tax preparer, tax prep products have a variety of features to offer. Some of these features are free, while others require you to purchase and download the software for the relevant tax year.

Although no app takes the entire tax process off your plate, at least so far, taking advantage of the above-listed programs (as well as other tech tools) may help reduce the time and mental energy associated with preparing your income taxes.

Important Disclosures:

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

This article was prepared by WriterAccess.

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