For thousands of people all over the country, building a business is a cornerstone of the American dream. And one part of the American dream you can always count on is Uncle Sam taking his cut. Thankfully, modern technology like the smartphone is putting the power to prepare and file taxes effectively in the hands of owners and entrepreneurs everywhere. Similarly, there are a number of popular tax apps out there that can help.
However, with an abundance of eye-catching icons and catchy brand names, it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s hard enough for some people just to file a W2. Which are the best tax apps for small business owners? What do you need to look for when trying to build a better business?
H&R Block Tax Prep App Teams with Stride Tax
One of the most well-known names in the tax preparation game is H&R Block and the H&R Block Tax Prep app. Not only does the app allow users to upload tax returns, but it also uploads photos of tax forms W-2 and automatically imports all the relevant information. In 2018, H&R Block added a new Self-Employed product designed specifically for self-employed taxpayers, such as:
H&R Block’s Self-Employed is a small business software that integrates Stride Tax, a mobile app designed for business expense tracking. This app collects crucial data by asking the important questions about your business, including the various types of income and startup costs. It will even make personalized recommendations.
More specifically, H&R Block’s Self-Employed was designed for small business owners and self-employed workers who file Schedule C; Schedule C-EZ for filers with simple earnings and expenses is included in the Premium online product.
H&R Block’s Self-Employed provide comprehensive support for questions involving:
Receipts and sales
Net gain or loss
Cash or accrual accounting
Stride Tax even automates mileage tracking and helps clients discover tax deductions unique to their profession.
Ratings: 4.7 out of 5 on iTunes
TurboTax Home & Business
TurboTax is right next to H&R Block as one of the most recognizable brands in the world of tax preparation. Intuit, which brings all the convenience of TurboTax to the consumer, also offers an app for small business owners. Now keep in mind, this one does come with a $99.99 price tag. However, that payment doesn’t just get you an electronic bookkeeping system. TurboTax also throws in one e-file of a tax return.
The online tax deductions app claims to help business owners identify and get the most money for your tax deductions, particularly with small businesses. Some of those who benefit most from TurboTax Business include:
C and S corporations
Single member LLCs that have elected to file as a C or S corporation can also use TurboTax Business. One useful aspect of TurboTax Home & Business is that it allows owners to create tax forms for their employees, including W2 and 1099 forms.
The software keeps track of business expenses throughout the year, and even offers a feature that estimates the depreciated value of a company’s assets. User reviews praise TurboTax for their easy, step-by-step walkthrough of filing taxes.
What is the biggest selling point for TurboTax? It seems like small business owners love the attention to customer service. You even have the option of engaging in a live chat with a representative while you’re in the process of filing to make sure you’re optimizing returns.
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 on nerdwallet.com
Any good business owner knows how to save money where they can. One place to cut costs during tax season is utilizing the free app Wave. This small business app is very popular right now, largely because of its easy-to-use features. Granted, not every aspect of the app is without cost. You’ll have to pay a little if you want to take on other tasks through the app like:
However, this does not mean the software is by any means skimping. The developers are constantly offering updates to make the Wave user experience more productive. With just the free plan, small business owners have access to:
Basic inventory features
Easy reporting tools
This is a mobile app specifically created for the small business that needs support with bookkeeping and simple accounting. Some medium-size businesses have utilized Wave, but most believe there are plenty of more sophisticated platforms out to meet all the needs Wave might not.
The software provides personal accounting as well, so an owner can simultaneously prepare important financial records for themselves and their company come tax time. This is especially useful for freelancers, independent contractors, and e-commerce shop owners. Notable drawbacks from reviewers seem to be mostly concerned with customer service, so hopefully, this company is able to polish the element of human error and keep moving forward.
Ratings: 4.1 out of 5 on iTunes
For many small business owners, the goal when tax season sneaks up on them is to simplify the process. Thus, FreshBooks has become an incredibly popular app for micro or small business owners. This little piece of software does a good job of simplifying invoices for small business owners and freelance workers. FreshBooks is also popular for its accounting features, but it is not accounting software. However, its service can come in handy for keeping efficient records.
Fans of this app do praise the customer service and support. However, many points to limited reports, the lack of bank reconciliation, and limited features for accounts payable as a huge drawback for bigger businesses.
FreshBooks is a go-to for invoicing or light bookkeeping. It offers some simple expense tracking tools along with invoices. FreshBooks even allows you to prepare and send proposals to potential clients.
Ratings: 3.5 out of 5 on consumeraffairs.com
Tax apps have gone so mainstream that even the Internal Revenue Service has gotten in on it. As hard as it may be to believe, technology even managed to make dealing with the IRS easy! The IRS2Go mobile app is great for finding tax preparation services or tracking tax returns. Strangely though, the IRS did not build in a feature to actually file taxes from IRS2Go. However, the app does allow for requesting account transcripts.
When it comes to tax preparation, there is no one you can trust to know their stuff more than the federal office designed to monitor and collect taxes. Unlike the others on this list, the IRS2Go app itself doesn’t feature an extensive catalog of features. So while it may not be the most customizable the experience for small business owners to file taxes, it does have its advantages. It even helps connect users with free tax preparation assistance from an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistant near them.
For small business owners who are having trouble figuring out the most effective way to prepare their returns, having an opportunity to collaborate directly with an experienced tax professional through an app can make all the difference.
Rating: 3 out of 5 on iTunes
Hurdlr Expense and Mileage Tracker
Thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners across the country swear by Hurdlr, which offers a dynamic accounting and tax component. Originally designed for Uber and Lyft drivers, the newest adaptations make it a perfect resource for small businesses to track their expenses.
Not only does the app simplify the complex process of preparing taxes for freelancers and entrepreneurs, but it is also acclaimed as being incredibly intuitive. For example, self-employed tax app users can swipe a business card, and the app will automatically ask if the cost should be accounted for on the business reports.
And guess what? Hurdlr is free.
This tax deductions app flaunts a user-friendly design that delivers on a variety of features. Just to name some of the most popular aspects of Hurdlr, the app:
Measures business profit and tax estimates in real time
Automatically tracks expenses and deductions
Performs project-based, double-entry accounting
Actively tracks mileage to optimize tax preparations
Finally, when tax time rolls around, users can generate a spreadsheet report straight from Hurdlr with already organized financial data. This can save a ton of time otherwise lost on sorting receipts and retracing your steps.
Hurdlr is another piece of empowering small business software that offers comprehensive customer service. This includes live support chat options during normal business hours.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 on iTunes
Next, TaxAct Express is another provider that has committed a lot of effort to simplify the process of tax-filing for businesses. In an effort to customize the experience even further, TaxAct Express has created a line of different products that can best service professionals on different levels. These tax preparation systems include:
The app’s built-in W-2 capture functionality makes it easy to import tax information into your return. In addition, 3D Touch technology within the TaxAct Express app allows customers to find answers to questions they may have. For example, customers who do not know how to identify dependents can tap “dependents” to get guidance.
Rating: 3 out of 5 on www.nerdwallet.com
Some entrepreneurs make a habit out of being philanthropic, and even a small business can reap the benefits when it comes to tax season. Over the course of a year, thousands of businesses of every industry make charitable contributions to causes and communities in need. Thankfully, there is a tax app called iDonatedIt for small businesses and entrepreneurs to calculate the value of their donation.
By using iDonatedIt throughout a year to track all a company’s charitable donations, the process of applying those credits come tax time is made easier.
Rating: 3 out of 5 on iTunes
QuickBooks has quickly become one of the most famous brands in small business mobile apps. Specifically, QuickBooks Online has been regarded by many review sites as the best accounting software for small business owners. In fact, there is a wide range of types of accounting software under the QuickBooks banner that meet the unique needs of businesses that vary in size, scope, and industry. So even medium business owners can benefit from taking advantage of these features.
For small business owners, there are:
QuickBooks Self-Employed- perfect for freelancers and independent contractors
Desktop QuickBooks – allowing small businesses to store all their accounting data on one computer
QuickBooks Online- providing extensive convenience and accessibility for small business accounting
These variations of QuickBooks offer a wide range of useful services. Across the 3 versions for small businesses, you will find a versatile portfolio of features for:
Automatic mileage tracking
Income and expenses tracking
Track sales tax
Quarterly tax estimates that are calculated automatically
Pay your quarterly estimated taxes online
Schedule C deduction optimization
Export your Schedule C directly to TurboTax
One federal and one state tax return
Manage and pay 1099 contractors
QuickBooks works with your business bank account, credit cards, not to mention e-commerce resources like PayPal and Square. The app seamlessly uploads data from these platforms and integrates it into your bookkeeping. It also simplifies doing your business taxes, as it tracks expenses and lets you upload photos of receipts from your phone.
Ratings: 5 out of 5 on Merchant Maverick
Better Business with Easy to Use Tax Apps
Looking through the list, is it obvious how some of these accounting and tax deduction apps help a business cultivate better practices for themselves and their customers. Everything from rewarding donations of charity to offering detailed invoicing and reliable customer service is what makes small business software a groundbreaking part of supporting stronger growth in any industry.
And even when these apps come with larger price tags, remember that any money business owners spend on a tax prep app is tax deductible. Now that is a win-win for every startup and old Uncle Sam.
For further reading check out these articles to help you understand tax apps better, and how payroll outsourcing can be done with tax apps.
For professional CPA Tax preparation services, here is a directory of local accounting firms courtesy of The United CPA Association