Tech and taxes

February 13, 2014 by Eric Linden

Hello! It’s the wily tax blogger. Returning for another installment of monthly tax glee. It is February and I know what you all are commiserating over…. that pile of tax paperwork that arrived in the mail at the end of January. W-9’s, stock sales, home sales, heck… divorce papers. What joy when Uncle Samuel comes a knocking. Technology is a hot topic today and I would like to discuss how these new emerging technologies are assisting tax payers.

Organization is extremely important and we should start with that. Do you use any type of software to record all your expenses you plan to deduct? One great way to organize receipts is by utilizing a mobile app. There are many apps out there that enable you to scan receipts using a bar code scanner. Talk about a revolutionary way of keeping all of those wafer thin receipts in order! Your mobile phone can be a handy tool in a variety of ways. TurboTax, a popular tax software, offers a useful app called SnapTax which enables you to actually take a photo of your W-2, answer questions and efile securely from your phone. (Full disclosure: Wily is an employee of which is the exclusive provider of audit services to Turbo Tax customers.) If you have a mobile phone, do some research in the Apple iTunes App store or in any other directory you use, be it Android or Microsoft. Even the government is getting in on the action. The IRS has an app, the IRS2Go, to assist in tracking your refund status. Each year, new apps are created to assist in making our lives easier and we sure will gladly take some help in the tax area of our lives.

As for an individual with a business, it is beneficial to research what is on the market in regards to business accounting software. There are numerous cloud-based accounting software programs that do a fine job in assisting with tax preparation. What did businesses do before the computer? It is hard to imagine a world without them! As with apps, these software programs are being improved upon each year as well. Is a paperless world upon us? A paperless tax world would be an amazing feat and I can see that happening one day! The first year people were able to file online was a major breakthrough so anything is possible. Remember when it was novelty to enter our credit card information online? Thanks to Amazon that is now ubiquitous. Despite security breaches here and there (Target), for the most part we feel comfortable placing our information online. This has revolutionized tax preparation, and we cannot imagine a world without this option.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and more efficient. Sometimes that is the case and sometimes it is not. Regardless, keep your eyes peeled for new tools and technologies in the tax world. As our tax law becomes increasingly more complex, technological advances can assist in making tax work less daunting. Embrace these advances and enjoy your tax season! Yeah right!

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