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Tax Estimate Mobile Apps Offer an Alternative When Doing Taxes

Updated on March 15, 2012

Getting Tax Return Estimates with Mobile Apps

Smartphones running mobile apps that help you get a tax return estimate are becoming more common.
Smartphones running mobile apps that help you get a tax return estimate are becoming more common. | Source

Getting a quick estimate or snapshot with the use of mobile apps can determine whether a taxpayer will receive a refund and as a guidance tool in preparing taxe

The mass surge in the purchase and use of smartphones by consumers in the United States has made the download of mobile software applications quite popular.

According to a recent PriceGrabber survey, 58 percent of online consumers own a mobile phone capable of connecting to the Web. Of the online consumers with Web-enabled phones, 21 percent own a smartphone, eight percent own an iPhone (TM), and 29 percent own another type of web-enabled phone.

Becoming more common are the download and use of tax refund estimator apps such as ones from tax preparer organizations such as TurboTax/Intuit, Jackson, Hewitt Tax Services and H&R Block. All three of these mobile apps make it quick and easy to estimate the refund of your 2011 and beyond taxes. Each of these developed apps present a colorful, vivid and easy-to-use screen and menu system.

Keep in mind the following apps are not full=blown tax preparation software packages.

Here is a brief rundown on the available smartphone apps:

Jackson Hewitt's App Solution

The Jackson Hewitt app is called “JH Mobile”, and it can be downloaded for free using an iPhone or an Android -capable phone. It allows users to locate a nearby Jackson Hewitt office using the phone's GPS technology, conveniently schedule appointments with tax preparers, check and track the status of tax returns 24 hours per day/seven day a week, and view the company's tax products, services and special offers. Another useful tool on the app is a checklist that reminds users what important paperwork they need to bring to the interview with the tax preparer.

The very first version of the app was released on Dec. 9, 2011 and takes up 2.66MB of memory on the smartphone or SD card. The app is available for download on the AppStore.

The TurboTax App Solution

TurboTax has a available an app for download called “TaxCaster”. They also have just come out with an app that can be downloaded to the Apple iPad. All a user needs to do after downloading the app to their device is open up the app, answer a few simple questions such as, “Are You Married”, “Filing Jointly?, “Age?”, and the “Total Income and “Deductions, Credits and Payments”. The app will then calculate a refund estimate that will make it easier to fill out the tedious IRS tax forms.

Also, new features for this year includes allowing users to input negative numbers such as trying to show a loss and perform “what-if” scenarios to see how actions may affect the bottom line of some real event. TurboTax says that all of the latest tax updates and calculations of tax estimates are 100 percent accurate based on the users input.

The app is available for download on the AppStore.

The H&R Block App Solution

This app is similar to the above competitor apps, but has more in-depth tax information and analysis and is a bit easier to navigate. There is a lot of good tax information in the database that gives answers to questions entered by the user. There are app downloads for the iPod, iPad and Andriod devices, plus downloads for each tax form preference.. Go to the AppStore to locate this app to download.

Do You Currently Use a Tax Refund Estimate Mobile App?

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    • ScoopDave profile image

      David Keup 6 years ago from Cedarburg, WI

      Thanks for commenting. You are exactly right...these apps help provide an estimate. Helpful tools built in, but a full-blown software for the PC like TurboTax or going to Jackson Hewitt Tax Service office or H&R Block office will get the best results. I know that Jackson Hewitt has partnered with Walmart Supercenters in several states like Wisconsin and Illinois, and have small kiosks in those locations.

    • bankscottage profile image

      bankscottage 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      With a lot of people doing everything, particularly banking, on their phone or iPad, they should remember, these apps are only for estimating your taxes. You can't fill in the information and wait for a refund. They still have to complete a return and file it.

      How do these apps handle common situations such as earned income credit (EIC) and child tax credit? What about business and investment activity (Schedule C and D)?

      I have a fairly complicated return, but I may look into trying one out. I would like to keep an eye on my estimated return so that I could adjust my withholding over the course of the year. I hate paying interest and penalties because I didn't pay enough tax during the year (or worse yet, letting the government have too much of my money and getting a big refund).

      Nice hub and summary of these apps.