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There's An App For That

September 22nd, 2020

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President Trump's war on Tik-Tok, the Chinese video-sharing app that's loaded with more spyware than James Bond's latest car, illustrates just how ubiquitous those programs have become in our lives. Apple offers 2.2 million apps in their iStore. Apps help you do everything, from setting an alarm to wake you up in the morning to generating white noise to help you fall asleep at night. In between, you can use your phone to manage your money, order up dinner, buy movie tickets, track your workout, and watch Monday Night Football.

Of course, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So clever developers have also loaded up the iStore with apps like Harmonica (pop your iPhone in your mouth and blow like Dylan), Sausage Legend (combat to the death, except with sausages), and Yo (text "yo" to anyone on your contact list). Frankly, we're a bit surprised no one from the MacArthur Foundation has called those developers with their genius grants.

Naturally, there are apps to help with taxes. TurboTax and H&R Block let you file the simplest returns right from your phone. The IRS has an app that lets you request records, check your refund, and follow the service on social media. And some apps even help you pay less — which brings us to this week's story about an app called Monaeo.

People who pay a lot of tax often have more than one home. What happens if one is in a high-tax state like New York or California, and the other is someplace with no income tax like Florida or Nevada? If you spend too much time in the high-tax state, you can wind up owing tax there — even if your primary residence, your drivers' license, and your voter registration are all somewhere else.

Enter the world of tax-residency audits. Imagine sitting down with a state tax auditor and scrambling to produce calendar records, plane tickets, and folders full of receipts to prove where you were! You might agree to pay the tax just to end the torture.

That's where Monaeo comes in. For just $79/month, Monaeo automatically logs your phone's physical location and records your city, state, and country. (It won't log street addresses, which should reassure users who sometimes misbehave while they're paying less.) You can share access with your accountant, lawyer, or personal assistant. You can generate reports for years at a time. You can set up alerts to warn you when you're approaching your limit in any particular place. You can even pull in supporting data from EZ-Pass toll records or office building keycard swipes.

State tax audits can have pricey consequences. Actor Tom Hanks lives in LA's chic Pacific Palisades, but also has a pied-a-terre in New York. The National Enquirer reported in 2013 that he walked the plank early on the New York Film Festival premiere of Captain Phillips to avoid wasting one of his 183 allowable "New York days." (If you can't trust the National Enquirer to deliver hard-hitting tax coverage, who can you?) In another case, the New York Division of Tax Appeals ruled that when Match.com's new CEO took his rescue dog with him to Dallas, it meant the move was official.

We understand that when it comes to helping you save taxes, help comes from all directions — and we welcome it with all. So next time you glance down at your phone — which most Americans do every 12 minutes — remember we're here working on your behalf. Text us with your questions, and enjoy the savings!


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