Tax time Smartphone apps can help make filing easier

Apps help track refunds, check tax credits


Tax season is just around the corner and more Americans are using smartphones to track refunds, check eligibility for tax credits and get help from the IRS.

If you're looking for the best tax apps, here’s a quick review:

TurboTax for iPad supports TurboTax's Deluxe, Premier, and Home and Business products. However, Deluxe is the only app you can download from the iTunes store. After that, you can upgrade if necessary.

You can download and try out the app for free. There's a fee to e-file and print your return. Prices start at $29.99 for a federal return. A state return costs $36.99.

H&R Block at Home allows you to prepare and file one federal tax return for free; a state return costs $29.99.

Once you download the app, you can upgrade to the deluxe edition. Preparing and e-filing a deluxe edition costs $19.99 for a federal return; $29.99 for a state return.

The free TaxACT 2012 app for iPad and Android  tablets allows users to switch back and forth between their tablets and computers.

Smartphone apps

TurboTax is offering SnapTax, a mobile application that allows taxpayers who file a 1040EZ to file their federal and state tax returns on their smartphones. This year, H&R Block is also offering a smartphone app, H&R Block at Home 1040EZ. Both apps allow users to import data by taking a picture of their W-2s with their smartphones for free.

•TaxAct Central: This app is designed to work as a companion to TaxAct's online software program. You can use it to check your e-file status, ask a question or get organized.

•EITC Calculator. This free app, provided by TurboTax parent Intuit, is designed to help low- and middle-income taxpayers determine whether they're eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit. The IRS estimates that up to a quarter of eligible taxpayers fail to claim this credit, which is worth up to $5,700 this year.

•IRS2Go. Use this free app to check the status of your refund, get updates on the latest tax news, order tax return transcripts, or contact the IRS.