Smartphone apps to ease the pain of tax season

(MoneyWatch) Though we're still roughly four months away from the annual tax-filing deadline, December is really the start of tax season. In a few weeks we'll be getting our W-2s and 1099s, which makes now a good time to organize that shoebox filled with business receipts.

To help you get ready for taxes, I've rounded up a few of the best tax-savvy iPhone applications you might want to check out.

TurboTax SnapTax. TurboTax is perennially at the top of my list of tax software (I have personally done my taxes with TurboTax almost every year since the late 1990s.) Obviously, any app that offers to do your taxes for you on a phone isn't going to solve complicated tax problems, but SnapTax is a superb way to file if you have a simple tax profile. Just take a picture of your W-2 with the phone's camera, answer some questions and you're done.

H&R Block Mobile. While TurboTax is all about DIY tax filing, H&R Block Mobile is about connecting you with a professional who can do it for you. This is for folks who have more complex tax situations and don't want to go it alone. While H&R Block Mobile can help you find an office and schedule an appointment, it does a lot more, as well. There's a tax estimator and a tax refund tracker, for example, as well as some handy tips for preparing to see a tax professional, including a list of documents you'll want to bring along.

Mint. You might already know Mint.com as one of the coolest sites on the Internet for managing your finances online. The site can pull in account information from all of your banks, credit cards, loans and more, and organize it for easy budgeting and goal-setting. What you might not realize is that Mint can deliver all that personal financial data to you on your iPhone and iPad, so you can have access to it anytime, anywhere. And if you use both Mint and TurboTax, you're in luck because TurboTax can import directly from Mint to even further streamline your tax preparation.

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