April 15 is inching perilously closer. Sooner or later, you're going to have to come to terms with burning an evening fishing through a bunch of paperwork and sorting out your financial life. Sounds exhilarating, doesn't it?
But, as it is with most things, we live in a fortunate age. Thing is, the results of doing your taxes are actually pretty awesome -- you get money from the government like they're your grandmother on your birthday. It's just the process that is painful, except that part's not so painful anymore. If you haven't yet discovered the simplistic beauty of filing your taxes online, let me tell you, you're missing out. You plug numbers into an app, and the app makes math happen, and then you're done. It's wonderful, and there are a lot of services out there to choose from, no matter what kind of device you own.
Windows Phone - TaxCaster
Even if you're on the go, you can still get an idea of what your refund is going to look like. Windows Phone owners can download TaxCaster for free -- it uses the same calculator as TurboTax, one of the most reputable e-file services running today. You won't be able to e-file with TaxCaster, but you can use it to play around with your deductions to figure out how you can get the biggest return. That way, you can sit down and e-file in one go, then start planning your ill-advised refund-fueled shopping splurge.
Windows 8 - MyTaxRefund
Speaking of planning shopping trips, it helps to know exactly when that check is going to arrive. That's why there's MyTaxRefund, available for free on the Windows Store. After you e-file with any service (though TurboTax is favored), you can enter a few lines of basic information to find out the status of both your federal and state tax returns and, more importantly, when you can expect those refunds to arrive.
Android - H&R Block 1040EZ
The dream is real, not only is e-filing possible, e-filing from a mobile device is also a go. You can get taxes done with minimal effort, from anywhere, at anytime. And it's even better with a mobile -- thanks to the camera, you can take pictures of your documents, like your W-2. The H&R Block 1040EZ app will grab all the information from that document and upload it to the calculator. From there, it's just a matter of rounding at the details and hitting send (OK, granted, the 'hitting send' part of e-filing usually takes 15 minutes and rifling through about 346 different consent forms and agreements, but anyway). Of course, you have to be eligible to file with a 1040EZ, but if you do, it doesn't get much easier than this app. Free audit support, which not every e-filing service offers, is also a nice addition.
iOS - TurboTax SnapTax
If filing your taxes is about as simple as digging out your W-2, you need to get TurboTax SnapTax. You get TurboTax, which has a pretty solid reputation, along with the promise that you'll be able to e-file in as quickly as ten minutes. Ten minutes, and you're done with taxes. What a world we live in. All you need to do is get in those personal details and snap a picture of your W-2. Beautiful and elegant in its simplicity, and it also results in you getting a nice big direct deposit not too long after you e-file (using the app!).
Mac - TurboTax
For more complex returns, mobile's not going to work too well. Fortunately for Mac users, TurboTax has adapted their online software, turning it into a detailed, accurate app for e-file preparation. Like the online service, the TurboTax app will guide you through all parts of tax preparation and e-filing, including your work income, investments, and assets. Figuring out your deductions is just as straightforward, with TurboTax turning tax prep into a series of simple questions. You'll still have to pay to e-file, depending on which version of TurboTax you need, but it's still probably going to end up cheaper than paying someone else to do your taxes.
This story first appeared on Chip Chick.