Free App Friday: 5 Great Last-Minute Tax Tools

Nothing is certain but death, taxes, and the fact that you’re going to wait until the last minute to file your taxes every year.


It’s that time of year again: the NCAA hoopla has wrapped up, the Masters Tournament is in full swing, and Uncle Sam wants his due. Assuming you’ve waited until the last second to file your taxes like the rest of us, here are a handful of apps that’ll make April 15th a little less painful.


1. Estimate Your Windfall.

Let’s get an idea of how much moola you’re getting back or–gulp–how much you’re going to owe. TaxCaster (Android, iOS), from tax-preparation kingpin TurboTax, asks you for some basic info and then estimates the final tally. Just enter your filing status, your income, and any tax breaks you’re expecting, and watch the dial at the top of the app (hopefully) move from red to green to indicate that a refund is headed your way.

2. Get Your Finances in Order.

The easy-to-use Mint (Android, iOS) app helps you corral all your financial accounts–banking, credit cards, loans, and more–to present you with a nice overview of how much money you have. As far as taxes go, the app does a good job of breaking all your purchases down by category so that you can find various deductions without combing through statement after statement from each of your financial institutions.

3. Scan Smarter.

In case of an audit, you’ll want to make sure you can back up your write-offs with receipts. Lots and lots and lots of receipts. Smart Receipts (Android, iOS) lets you use your phone’s camera to scan receipts that can be combined into professional-looking PDF- and CSV-based expense reports, with purchases broken down by category in order to help ensure your records are squeaky clean.

4. Recover Your Tracks.

Business mileage can be a big write-off, so a good tracker like MileIQ (Android, iOS) is a must. The app can auto-log miles for you by using your phone’s GPS, or you can manually add entries for past trips. It’ll show you how much of a deduction you’ll get–rates are currently 57.5 cents per mile–and entries are stored in IRS-friendly formats. The app lets you log 40 drives for free every month; monthly fees start at $6 thereafter.

5. Go Right to the Source.

Newsflash: Tax law is confusing. The IRS-issued IRS2Go (Android, iOS) app serves up tax tips, lets you check your refund status, and shows you where to find free tax help in your area. There are direct links to the IRS’s Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr accounts as well. Yes, the IRS has a Tumblr account.