When tax time rolls around, having all of your documents ready to go can eliminate some of the stress of filing. Keeping up with receipts throughout the year can be a hassle but a handful of apps are making it easier for taxpayers to stay organized. Instead of wading through stacks of paper or maintaining a complicated file system, you can simply scan your receipts and access them right from your smartphone. If you’re thinking of going paperless this tax season, the following apps are among the top picks for getting organized.
Shoeboxed is designed for iPhone and Android users who need an easy way to organize receipts on the go. Instead of keeping a paper copy, you can snap a photo of your receipt and upload it to an online account. Users also have the option of sending receipts via email or snail mail to be scanned. Once you’ve entered your information, it’s organized by date and divided into different spending categories, such as travel, gas, meals and supplies. It’s easy to search the database for a particular receipt and all of your information can easily be exported to most popular tax programs or accounting software. The free version of the app allows you to store up to five documents per month. If you think you’ll need more storage, there are also plans ranging from $9.95 to $49.95 per month.
If you want to take organizing your tax documents one step further, then Evernote is the app for you. With Evernote, you can store documents and photos and sync your information to your phone, tablet or PC. You can create individual tax notebooks to keep track of your charitable donations, business expenses and income statements. If you have a scanner, you can upload images of your receipts and file them in Evernote and all of your data is easily searchable using keywords or tags. Basic membership is free and allows you to store up to 60MB of content each month, including documents, emails and photos. For $49.95 a year, you can get a premium membership which gives you up to 1GB of store per month and the ability to view and edit your notebooks offline. Evernote is designed for both iPhone and Android users.
If you plan to claim deductions for work-related expenses, you’ll need to make sure your records are in order in case the IRS comes knocking. Business travelers can easily create records for mileage, meals and entertainment expenses using Expensify. The app is designed to be synced with your credit card or bank account to automatically track purchases. Users get 10 receipt SmartScans per month plus unlimited receipt uploads and each additional SmartScan costs just .20 cents. You have the option of importing your expenses and syncing your data with Evernote. The app’s features can also be integrated with Freshbooks and Quickbooks. The free Expensify app is a great choice for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone users who need help keeping track of business expenses.
Donating money, household goods or other property to charity can add up to a significant deduction at tax time but only if you have proof of your contributions. Fortunately, the iDonatedIt app lets iPhone and Android users document charitable donations and track estimated tax savings, all for just $2.99 per month. Developed by a group of certified public accountants, iDonatedIt allows you to take pictures of items you donate, keep records of where and when the items were donated and it even estimates the fair market value of what was donated. At the end of the year, you can simply email the donation report to yourself or to your tax professional when you’re ready to file.
Lemon is a free app designed for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone users. In addition to allowing you to store digitized images of your credit cards, ID and insurance cards, you can also upload receipts which are then converted into a searchable, taggable format. Receipts can also be added by email and all of your data is backed up to cloud storage for free. The app makes it easy to keep track of expenses, assign categories to your spending and create spending reports. All of these features are available with the free version of the app. For $4.99 a month or $39.99 a year, you’ll also have the ability to export receipt data to programs like Evernote and Expensify and share your expense data with up to five people.
Small business owners will love Slice, a free app for iPhone and Android that keeps track of your spending for you. The app is designed to keep track of your online purchases by scanning your email inbox for purchase receipts and shipping information. Slice works with the majority of email providers, including Gmail, and you can easily link up to five different email addresses to your account. In addition to making it easier to search for receipts, the app also tracks your shipments automatically so you’ll always know exactly when that order of supplies is scheduled to arrive.
The prospect of going digital versus sticking to your tried and true accounting method may seem intimidating but it could save you a lot of time, money and headaches during tax season. With user-friendly platforms and relatively low costs, these apps are designed to make tax filing a breeze.