Monday, April 29, 2013

4 iPhone Apps That Will Help You With Your Next Tax Return

4 iPhone Apps That Will Help You With Your Next Tax Return - Whether you’re working for the man or slugging it out yourself as a member of the self-employed, you deserve all the tax breaks that the law gives out. As this tax season comes to a close, you may have promised yourself to keep better records this year, and to document every single write-off and discount that applies to your situation. These are brave words when you’re still in the first quarter of a new fiscal year, but most of us find it hard to stay organized and vigilant all the way to next year’s tax return. To give you a hand, here are 4 iPhone apps that will help you keep track of every form and receipt that will lighten your tax burden:


You’ve probably seen this app advertised or mentioned in several places. It’s popped up in everything from Forbes to the New York Times, and for good reason. But it’s often the most widely available tools that are the most overlooked, so if you’ve come across Shoeboxed before and given it a pass, you definitely want to reconsider.

What it does is allow you take a smartphone picture of your receipts and then label, archive, and transmit the information whenever needed. When this becomes part of your daily routine, you can keep track of receipts and reimbursements with just a few seconds’ work each time. No more emptying out your car every three months to round up all those client lunch receipts, spending your Saturdays with your fingers in the darkest nooks and crannies of your vehicle, sifting through dead batteries, grimy pennies, and chewed-up toothpicks.


A nice and simple app for keeping track of your basic expenses. You won’t be sending any of the info you store in this to your accountant at the end of the year, but if you want to keep track of where that $2,000 went during that weeklong stay in Austin, this can be a great help. There’s a $2.99 “Pro” version of this app, which you don’t need. Stick with the freebie offering, unless you’re 3 bucks short of a desperately needed write-off that will drop you down an income bracket.


If you need spreadsheets on the go, this app is it. It has just enough functionality to make it useful, without bogging itself down with the full suite of offerings that Excel has, making it perfect for a little mobile record keeping. You get the occasional ad sprinkled in with this app, but it keeps it free to use, so hopefully you can ignore the urge to refinance your mortgage when you’re making a column for how much you spent on gas last week.

Doc Scan

Another quick and easy app, Doc Scan is exactly what it sounds like: a document scanner for your iPhone. There are many apps that fill this particular need, some of them free and some of them hilariously overpriced, but thankfully Doc Scan falls on the zero-cost side of the spectrum.

Essentially, the same feature employed by the Shoeboxed app is used again, this time for anything larger than a receipt. Every crumpled piece of paper, brochure cover, business card, and anything else you’ll need to keep tabs on can be converted in seconds to a PDF file by transforming your iPhone’s camera into a makeshift scanner. Obviously, your improvised scans won’t be the highest resolution the world has ever seen, but you’ll be using this to keep track of expenses, not your company’s marketing materials.
Doc Scan does charge a fee if you want to fax any of your PDF’s, but don’t even bother looking at this. Anything you’ll be scanning on the road will be for your yearly write-offs, not something that has to be reviewed immediately by an office worker from 1982.

All 4 of these apps are available at no charge, and really do go a long way toward making your smartphone into a valuable record-keeping gadget. If you’re looking to keep every penny the tax laws allow, these apps will help you get the job done.

Author bio:

John is a blogger who recently started keeping legitimate records of receipts, mileage, and other documents that can be used as write-offs. He writes for insurance company Protect Your Bubble, who can give you extra protection for your gadgets, business trips, rental cars, and many other expenses that are useful to remember when tax season comes around.