Just when you thought a computer tablet such as an iPad was good only for "Words with Friends" or watching YouTube, there comes a more practical use: help with preparing your taxes.
Poring over your forms with a calculator and pencil, and the added frustration, is so 2000. Your tablet and even your smartphone can help you maneuver through the labyrinth that is the tax code. Here are some free apps for both iOS and Android that can help ease the seasonal pain of figuring out what the government's share of your income is:
TurboTax 2012/TurboTax SnapTax • If you're brave enough to delve into doing your own taxes, this is the go-to app. Simply take a picture of your W-2 form with your tablet or smartphone camera, and the app fills in many of the blanks automatically. Then you can go through, step-by-step, to fill in your deductions. The app also allows you to e-file the return for the fastest refund. It's free when you download it and you pay when you're done.
H&R Block • This iconic company offers the second-most-used service for tax preparation after doing it yourself. A suite of free apps is available, including the main "H&R Block" app, which allows you to upload tax documents to a professional and get answers to questions. It includes a calculator to estimate your refund and a glossary of tax terms.
If you make less than $100,000 per year and have no dependents, you can use "H&R Block 1040EZ," an app similar to TurboTax's version in which you take a picture of your W-2 and go from there. It works for both federal and state tax forms.
TaxACT • The online tax-preparation site is available for computer tablets so users can prepare and file forms electronically, without having to go to TaxACT's website on a mobile browser. There also is a mobile companion app for smartphones, TaxACT Central, that includes a checklist and lets users monitor the status of their returns, as well as access a help center for important tax questions.
IRS2Go • The official app from the Internal Revenue Service keeps users in contact with the agency. Follow its Twitter feed, monitor refund status and get tax updates and the latest news from the IRS.
TaxCaster by TurboTax • Before you do your taxes, you may want an estimate of how much you might owe or be owed. This calculator app also can figure out what will happen to you at tax time if you take out more or less money for taxes from each paycheck.
iDonatedIt ($2.99) • The only fee-based app on this list can save you a lot of money if you're a charitable sort. It allows users to track charitable donations and create a record for tax time. It can even keep track of the non-cash items you donated and what their fair-market value was when you donated them.
Google+: +Vincent Horiuchi