Calculate your bottom line with iPhone apps

Dec 15, 2010
Finance

A slumbering economy, holiday expenses, extended tax breaks – it has never been more complicated, or more critical, to administer your finances properly. And with all the digitally managed financial tools available, there is no excuse for bouncing a check, or failing to file that tax write-off. So download the following apps, and let your […]

A slumbering economy, holiday expenses, extended tax breaks – it has never been more complicated, or more critical, to administer your finances properly. And with all the digitally managed financial tools available, there is no excuse for bouncing a check, or failing to file that tax write-off.

So download the following apps, and let your iPhone be your financial planner. It will guarantee you more control, and who knows, you might even save yourself a buck or two.

With bonuses, overtime pay and tax and health-care deductions, you might not even know exactly how much money you’re pulling in on a monthly, or annual, basis. The Net Pay Salary Calculator (99 cents) allows you to convert from hourly pay to annual gross and net incomes, taking into account the tax bracket you fall into etc. The calculations can also be done in reverse.

How many times have your written a check to your alma mater, comforted by the fact that you can write it off come tax season? Well, those contributions add up, and they are easily forgotten. So take care to note them with the iDonatedit app ($2.99). You can track everything from a clothing drop at Goodwill to a cash contribution to Doctors Without Borders.

For a quick glimpse at what you’re going to owe the IRS this year, try the Tax Caster app (free). You’ll be asked a handful of pertinent questions – including exemptions such as education, family and housing – and then provided with a dollar amount of what you owe, or, if you’re lucky, what your refund will be.

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The Tax Answers H&R Block app (free) is another great tool that can help you confidently face the Internal Revenue Service come tax season. The app includes a lengthy glossary of tax-related terms that will keep you from feeling like an idiot as you fill out the requisite forms. In addition, you can actually ask questions, which will be answered (in less than 24, or so they say) by a tax expert. And all advice is free!

The IRS Glossary app (99 cents) also includes a lengthy list of all the terms you might need to become familiar with, organized in alphabetical order.

If you want to have fun while working your way through your taxes, you might try out the Dr. Taxes app ($1.99). It integrates the latest changes to IRS regulation with all the basic information you need. And on top of that, there is a tax trivia game! But maybe that’s best reserved for the CPA nerds among us.

And, of course, once you’ve filed for 2010, you’re going to want to strategize for next year. So take a look at the Lower Your Taxes Guide ($1.99). It has lots of helpful tips, such as saving in a 401(k) in order to avoid Uncle Sam’s money men.

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Megan O'Neil

Megan O'Neil is a journalist and freelance writer in Los Angeles. When she isn't lounging at the beach or socializing in the Hollywood Hills, she writes for the Park Labrea New/Beverly Press newspaper and the Los Angeles Times Community News Group.

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