Tax apps ease the burden of April 15

Photo courtesy Flickr user Tax Credits

(MoneyWatch) With only a week left to this year's tax filing day, I finally completed my taxes and e-filed just the other day; hopefully you are done as well. If you still need some last minute tax help, be sure to check out apps that make last-minute tax filing easier. But if you are done, it's time to turn your attention to the year ahead. Here are some tools that will help you be better prepared for taxes in 2014.

DocVault. The hands down most time consuming and painful part of doing your taxes is rounding up and making sense of a year's worth of receipts. That's why I procrastinate on starting my return until the last minute every year. There's a solution to this problem, though: Be better organized, all year round. DocVault is a free tool from TaxAct that lets you scan, organize, and store receipts, invoices, and other tax-related documents through the year. You get 3GB of free encrypted online storage, and all that stuff can be automatically imported into TaxAct.

ItsDeductible. In 2012, I made the move from Seattle to L.A., and gave a massive amount of personal property away to charity as part of selling my home. My charitable donations were scrawled on bits of paper and, quite frankly, poorly organized. If only I had used ItsDeductible, a free tool from TurboTax. This superb online service lets you record what you donated and to whom -- exactly the same information you'll need to enter into your tax return. Even better, it's massive database gives you realistic estimates for the value of all your donated items, so you don't have to get anything appraised or do a lot of guessing. Of course, you have the option to import the data into TurboTax.

Where's My Refund. And if you just wrapped up your taxes, you might be curious about when your tax refund is coming. That's easy: Just go to the IRS's Where's My Refund page. Enter your Social Security number, your filing status, and the exact amount of your refund (transcribe it from your return) and you'll find out exactly when the IRS is planning to send you your money.

Photo courtesy Flickr user Tax Credits