Tuesday, October 21, 2014 · 9:37 p.m.
Print
The SnapTax app from TurboTax allows taxpayers to prepare and file simple tax returns from their smartphone. The app is available on the iPhone and Android. (Photo: TurboTax)

The days of keeping tax documents jumbled in a shoe box are over—or at least they should be, Chattanooga CPA Joe P. Honey said.

“Even if you are doing it for yourself, make sure you’ve got your information organized,” he said. “You want to avoid the shoe box.”

Leaders with the Internal Revenue Service announced Wednesday that an expanded version of its smartphone application is now available.

The app has had more than 350,000 downloads and is designed to provide taxpayers easier access to practical tools and information.

With the app, users can view IRS YouTube videos that provide information about a variety of tax topics; get news releases; order their tax return transcripts; check the status of their refund; get email reminders and tips; and follow the IRS on Twitter.

“The new smartphone app provides an easy way for people to get helpful information about their taxes,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “IRS2Go reflects a wider commitment at the IRS to find innovative ways to serve taxpayers in a rapidly changing world.”

TurboTax also provides an app, called SnapTax, that allows users to take photos of their W-2, answer some questions and file from the phone. The app is available on the iPhone and Android devices and can file both federal and state tax returns.

Local tax help
There are a variety of other options for tax help.

The IRS offers several assistant programs for taxpayers, and H&R Block provides software and online filing for free returns, according to Reuters.

Since 2005, the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga has offered free tax help for simple returns for any individual or family with an income of less than $50,000 a year, James McKissic, chief operating officer of the Urban League, said.

Last year the organization helped prepare 4,036 returns, he also said.

“Most of them are really for straightforward tax returns,” he said. “If you have rental income or a small business that you are trying to do taxes for, we are not able to do those. It’s just for the average taxpayer with a couple of W-2s.”

For more complicated tax preparation, local residents might choose to work with a CPA, such as Honey.

He works with individuals and small and midsized business owners and local companies.

For a “fairly straightforward” return, he charges $175 for the preparation, he said.

Professional help can be important for business owners or individuals who might not understand the intricate details of finances, he said.

“Sometimes we’ll see things from a business perspective that might help that you wouldn’t get [otherwise],” he said.

Print
Reader's Recap
Daily news delivered directly to your inbox.   sign up
Press Esc to close