Australians are spending a lot of time on their smartphones, and in 2019 you needn't take your eyes off your screen to do your taxes either.
There are many options out there, but Yahoo Finance has picked five that are specifically suited for Australian tax returns and that have had decent reviews from reputable sites.
Here they are in no specific order:
The Australian Taxation Office has its own smartphone app for both Android and iOS. And it's free to download and use.
The myDeductions feature within the app is especially useful for tax time, as you can record expenses, work-related car trips, sole trader income and photos of your receipts. Then when you're ready to lodge, the software can pre-fill your tax return with that info or, if you're using an agent, email them all to the person looking after your taxes.
The ATO app also takes care of your superannuation, so that's a bonus if you want that and your tax-related info in the same place.
POP launched last year, aiming its service at millennials with reasonably straight-forward tax affairs. The startup was founded by two tax accountants who are millennials themselves.
The app is an artificial intelligence tax agent – it will take you through a checklist of deductibles that other people in your profession are legitimately claiming in order to maximise your return.
The service only costs $39 for "simple" tax returns. It's only $19 for those with an income below $20,000. There is even a $129 tier where POP will do your taxes for you, ideal for those with more complex arrangements like running their own business.
Tax Return by Pocketbook
Pocketbook is a free Australian budgeting app that was born out of a spreadsheet seven years ago and now has more than 400,000 users. It has a sister app named Tax Return by Pocketbook, available only on iOS.
The makers claim you can lodge a return in 10 minutes by answering a questionnaire and taking pictures of required documents. The numbers are then reviewed by a real accountant, to whom you can direct any enquiries.
Last year the service charged $59 upon lodgment.
Etax.com.au is the most experienced out of the third party providers listed here, with the service having proved itself since 1998. The company says the Etax mobile app, which is available on both Android and iOS, reviews tax returns with exactly the same rigour as its traditional service.
Users fill in their numbers and take pictures of supporting documents over the year. The numbers are then checked by qualified accountants, while the user can chat to them anytime over the app.
The fee starts at $69.90 for simple returns, while it scales up for complexities.
This is perhaps the most controversial app we found. Similar to POP, eTax and Tax Return by Pocketbook, it is also an electronic tax agent service – but ridiculously cheap because there is no human intervention or checking anywhere along the line.
For just $20, you can chat with a bot in Facebook Messenger that will supposedly ask all the right questions. The robot will pull out your personal information from the ATO and lodge your return. Despite not being human, TaxBot is a proper tax agent with a registration number with the Tax Practitioners Board.
But as the only electronic tax service without human intervention, how does it perform? Reviews are mixed.
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