Tame taxes with the help of Bing Finance and other Windows and Windows Phone apps

Bing Finance

For me, the month before taxes are due is a blur of foraging for receipts, bank, credit card and other records. But it’s going to be different this year. I’m going to get my act together – with help from some Windows and Windows Phone apps. Below are some tips to help you get the most out of those apps.

First thing, assess your financial situation. You can use Bing Finance, which is built into Windows 8 and also available as a Windows Phone 8 app, to serve as a hub for financial portfolios – including securities, 401(k) and individual retirement accountaccounts. Create watchlists to track stocks and mutual funds and swipe through interactive charts for a quick snapshot of the market. It’s also easy to check other things at a glance: business and personal finance news headlines, as well as the latest mortgage, home equity, auto loan, CD and credit card rates.

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I’m also a fan of Mint.com Personal Finance, available on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.1, which sets budgets, tracks accounts and gives tips on how to do more with my money. It’s great having all your financial info in one safe, secure place. You can see where your money is going through quick glances at graphs, review account summaries, track when bills are due and even set financial reminders.

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MoBu – Financial Management, found on Windows and Windows Phone, is another all-in-one way to wrangle your personal finances. It’s intuitive and easy to use as it keeps track of your accounts, cash, jewelry, precious metals and more. It monitors expenses and alerts you when you’ve gone over your budget. It can also analyze your data with charts and tables. And to be on the safe side, it automatically backs up your information through OneDrive.

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These apps are just a start – for more, explore the Money and Budget collection in the Windows Phone Store. You’ll see some of the apps I’ve mentioned here, but there’s also apps for banks, other portfolio keepers and budget minders.

Once you’ve got all your pertinent info together, you’re ready to dive into the really fun part: filling out all the forms.

A Bing survey reveals that almost two-thirds of us file our own taxes and one-third spend more than four hours working on them. Spend less time hunting for the right advice, tips and forms by going to Bing’s taxes hub. (The survey also says that one in four people would rather spring clean their house from top to bottom than file their taxes. But hopefully, between preparation and having all the forms you need in one place, it’ll seem like less of a burden.) Even doing searches through Bing.com will make it easier to find the forms you need.

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You can also use TaxCaster on your Windows Phone device to get a quick read on your taxes before you prepare your tax return, then adjust your paycheck withholdings so you take home more money or plan ahead so you pay less tax.

After you’ve filed, use MyTaxRefund to quickly check the status of your tax returns and
get an immediate estimate of when you can expect your refund for both federal and state taxes. (You don’t have to be a TurboTax customer to use this free app.)

Hopefully these apps will take a little of the sting out of tax time. Heck, you might even find they’re so useful, you’ll file your taxes early next year. (That’s my aspiration, anyway!)

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Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff