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Pocketbook budget app adds tax return support

Budget app Pocketbook has added a feature that automatically finds your work-related transactions for an easier time filing taxes.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
2 min read

Budget app Pocketbook has added a feature that automatically finds your work-related transactions for an easier time filing taxes.

(Credit: Pocketbook)

Budgeting app Pocketbook, which helps you organise your budget by keeping track of what you spend and allowing you to categorise it, has launched a new tax feature to streamline your tax return.

Available on the website only at this point, with plans to add it to the mobile app soon, it allows you to easily tag your bank transactions as "tax", giving you a summary of your work-related spending.

When you click on the "Tax" tab in your Pocketbook account, it will ask you 10 questions about what you spend for work and other costs that you can claim for your tax return: internet and phone bills, technology purchases, car-related expenses, charitable donations, education and training, investment property and shares, taxis and travels. Then, presuming you have already tagged those transactions accordingly, Pocketbook scans your bank accounts (if you have security concerns about this, Pocketbook has answered them here) and collates those transactions so that you can quickly and easily add them to your tax return, without the mess of a pile of receipts.

For any claimable expenses that fall outside of the app's questionnaire, you can search your transactions and add them manually. This process is a little more fiddly — initially, we couldn't get it to work trying to tag iTunes purchases until we had tagged them with "technology", which fits into the questionnaire.

You can also create a "custom" group — for example, if you are required to purchase protective clothing for your job — using an "Add Custom Tax Group" button. This makes the process a little easier. You specify which tag you want to add and name the group, and the website will search your transactions. Just tagging the transactions as "tax", however, doesn't work: you need to manually re-add the tag using the bulk editor.

The navigation is also a little strange. Once you've edited your transactions, you can't just hit a back button. You have to go back to the tax page and re-enter your custom group to add the transactions.

We do think the new feature is a lot better than shuffling through a shoebox full of paper receipts, but it could be a little more streamlined. However, once you've figured out how to use it, once again, Pocketbook has created a service unlike anything available on the Australian market.

You can pick up Pocketbook free for web and iOS here. It's coming soon to Android.