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Want to Use Your Phone as a Tax Tool? There are apps for that!

From time to time I get asked what I recommend people use for record keeping and for mobile tools. As we approach 2017, smart phones have become THE most indispensable item a person can own. I strongly suggest that anyone who doesn't sit at a desk all day familiarize themselves with the phone apps available to them. I'm not going to make specific recommendations but I will touch on some of the more popular apps out there.

Mileage apps typically utilize your phone's GPS capability to capture the mileage you drive while the app is running. Some of them run in the background, and the better ones use predictive data to determine when you're driving for business versus when you're not. Most are offered for both Android and iOS and are free for limited use for have a subscription for unlimited use.

- Milebug ($2.99)

- TripLog - GPS Mileage Log Tracker (Free)

- Vehicle Trip Logbook (Free)

- Mile Log Keeper – Organizer ($1.99)

- MileIQ (Free)

Hours and business tool apps allow you to capture time thats billed on an hourly basis as well as scan receipts to be input for accounting records. Other apps allow you to send client invoices on the go as well or allow you to type in notes.

- Expensify (free)

- Receipts Pro - Expense Tracker ($9.99)

- Solo Expenses (Free)

- Receipt Scanner (Free)

- Business Exp. Tracker ($4.99)

- Harvest ($12/month)

- Evernote (Free)

There are also travel and parking apps which allow you to locate amenities and shopping while out of town on business. In addition, most travel providers such as trains, airlines, and rental car agencies have apps of their own.

- The Parking Scout (Free)

- Parking Pal ($.99)

- Local City Guide (Free)

- Concur-Travel (Free)

- Business Travel Exp. Tracker (free/$4.99)

- TripAdvisor (Free)

Most modern phone also offer many other useful every day tools for the business person as well as the non-business person. They include voice to text, voice notepads, text to speech, language translation, and currency conversion.

Finally, despite all the deserved grief it gets for its archaic technology structure and lack of funding from Congress to rectify the problem, the IRS has its own app to check refund status and make payments.

Ultimately as we move further into the 21st century, we need to be flexible with how we conduct our business and day to day lives. Cloud and mobile based business isn't going away. The smart taxpayer will take advantage of the technology to ease their tax compliance and record keeping burden.

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