10 Tax Filing Apps for Those Who Don’t Want to Pay a CPA

Tax filing apps help you skirt the cost of having a certified public accountant (CPA) file for you. Browse the app store, and you’ll see tons of potentially helpful downloads — and these 10 are some of the best. Pro tip: Anything you pay for on these apps is likely tax-deductible.

1. LearnVest

OK, this first one isn’t actually a filing app. Instead, LearnVest keeps you organized throughout the year so you’re prepared come spring. The app securely links all your bank accounts and credit cards, so there’s no need to manually enter expenses unless you pay cash. Additionally, you can set and track financial goals — like paying off a loan or saving a certain amount of money — and check charts to monitor spending habits. You can also create categorized expense folders with different budgets to see when you’re overspending.

2. TurboTax

TurboTax walks you through filing step by step. Upload a snapshot of your W-2. Then, like a tax advisor, the app asks questions about your year, using bubbly graphics to add a fun spin to finding possible credits and deductions. A few taps, and you’re ready to e-file. If you file a Form 1040A or 1040EZ, the app is free, though other paid tiers starting at $71.98 for federal and state returns are available for those who have investments, want to maximize deductions or are self-employed.

3. H&R Block

TurboTax is often the choice of those wanting every possible tax filing feature, though H&R Block gets the job done at a lower price point. In fact, H&R Block is one of the free tax filing apps not just for Form 1040A and 1040EZ filers but also those filing a 1040 with itemized deductions. While TurboTax tends be rated as more user-friendly, H&R Block’s 12,000 offices worldwide mean you can get face-to-face help if needed.

4. TaxACT

Similar to TurboTax and H&R Block, TaxACT offers free and paid versions, allows you to upload your W-2 via snapshot and walks you through filling out your tax forms. TaxACT is the cheapest of the three, especially for those who itemize or are self-employed. Additionally, their free version offers phone support and access to your return for seven years — something H&R Block and TurboTax require an upgrade to access.

5. ItsDeductible

Created by TurboTax, ItsDeductible is one of the essential tax filing apps if you itemize. You can see how much your donations are worth — including goods you give away — and print out a report at the end of the year. Best of all, it’s free.

6. AskACPA

This free app provides a wealth of tax filing information — including translating IRS jargon into layman’s terms. Even better, you can ask questions to have them answered by a local CPA.

7. MileIQ

If you travel or drive often for work, MileIQ helps you log mileage and track commute expenses like tolls and parking. In fact, you can have it run continuously to track mileage automatically using your GPS! The free version lets you record up to 40 trips monthly, while $59.99 per year gives you unlimited tracking.

8. Receipts

There are a few receipt scanning tools among the tax filing apps, though in terms of quality and price, Receipts by Wave is chock-full of features — and it’s free. Take a snapshot of your receipt, folder it, track your spending for different categories, and export your accounting data when needed. You can even download your receipts to a ZIP file.

9. FreshBooks

Freshbooks is a highly praised mobile accounting app for business-owning taxpayers. Features include sending invoices (and getting paid within the app), scanning and saving receipts into categorized folders, collaborating with team members, tracking time spent on a project and deducing what to charge for a project based on hours and expenses. It comes with desktop software, too, with monthly plans starting at $15.

10. Xero

Sure, Xero isn’t the easiest app to set up, but once you’ve entered your financial record data, being organized for tax season becomes a breeze. Like FreshBooks, Xero offers mobile accounting, though at a slightly cheaper rate. FreshBooks is typically the choice for those focused on invoicing, while Xero is great for setting up payroll.

Whatever method you choose, these apps offer a way to make a stressful season a bit more streamlined and independent. Filing taxes doesn’t have to be a headache. Lean back in your pajamas, spread out your paperwork, and let one of these apps do the heavy lifting for you.

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