3 Insanely Simple Steps to Automate your Taxes

3 Insanely Simple Steps to Automate your Taxes

If you’re like me, you have a hard time staying on top of your taxes. You have gas receipts stuffed in every corner of your car. You are saving them for the day at the end of the year when you do your taxes. You think to yourself: “Is this money I get back even worth the trouble?!” Then you remember money doesn’t grow on trees, you have bills to pay and you just grunt and keep stuffing…

I don’t dread this as much as I used to. I’m going to show you how I use my favorite automation tool to COMPLETELY automate my taxes.

The tool is called: IF THIS THEN THAT or IFTTT for short!

The way it works is, it allows you to connect different tools together. And just as the name sounds, it lets you set up “IFTTT applets” that look like this:

IF “this happens” THEN “do” THAT


If This Then That Applet

    Here are 3 simple applets that will automate this process… no more stuffing receipts.

    1. One-click: Take a picture of the receipt and upload to an organized folder on Google Drive.

    • Download the IFTTT camera app on your phone.
    • Create a folder “Receipts” and a subfolder “2016” in Google Drive.
    • Turn this applet on and edit it to put photos in the “Receipts/2016” folder.

    Now, with one click your phone will take a picture of your receipt and upload it to your Google Drive folder.

    If you don’t have data, the app will wait for wifi to upload.

    Save your receipts the first year. Once everything goes smoothly this first time around, feel free to throw dem’ receipts out.


    ProTip: Create multiple versions of this applet with subfolders of different expense types. (“Receipts/2016/gas”, “Receipts/2016/restaurants”)

    2. Add incoming email receipts to Google Drive

    This applet will watch your inbox for emails. Any emails with “receipt” or “order” in the title will automatically go in your receipts folder. IFTTT will add a new row to a spreadsheet so you can keep track of the link to the original email.

    • Turn this applet on and press save.
    • Edit it to put files in the “Receipts/2016” folder.

    3. Send your accountant a timed email with the link to your receipts folder.

    Send Email to Accountant

      This last piece will finish off the automation process. Send your accountant an email every year with your receipts.

      Get an accountant to handle your income taxes at the end of the year. Make sure they allow you to send only electronic receipts of your purchases.


      Here’s an applet that will send them a friendly email with a link to your receipts folder.

      This last one you’ll have to create yourself.

      • From the My Applets page, click “New Applet”.
      • Click “+this” and select Date and Time.
      • Choose the “Every year on” box.
      • Enter your favorite day in January.
      • Click “+that” and select Gmail.
      • Choose the “Send an Email” box.
      • Then, enter the email to your accountant with a link to your Receipts folder.
      • Click “Create Action”
      • Click “Finish”.

      You’re all set to go, make sure your accountant will take photos of receipts.

      Bonus: Integrate more automation with Expensify

      Expensify is service that keeps track of your receipts and expenses for your tax returns. Their free tier is great for personal use. The best part is, you can connect it with IFTTT.

      You can replace the One-click option by uploading to Expensify instead of Google Drive.


      Replace the “add incoming email receipts to google drive” with this custom applet. Forward incoming email receipts to Expensify.

      • From the My Applets page, click “New Applet”.
      • Click “+this” and select Gmail.
      • Choose the “New email from inbox in search” box.
      • Enter “subject:receipt, subject:order” in the input and click “Create Trigger”.
      • Click “+that” and select Gmail.
      • Choose the “Send an Email” box.
      • Then, enter the email to
      • Click “Create Action”
      • Click “Finish”.

      I’ll leave it as an exercise for you to update sending an email to your accountant.


      You should now be up and running with an automated tax return process. There are even more ways you can automate. If you need to record your trips in your vehicle, there’s an applet for that.

      Let us know if there are any additional tools you use to automate your finances.

      More by this author

      Collin Glass


      3 Insanely Simple Steps to Automate your Taxes

      Trending in App

      1 Introducing 13 Useful Free Apps For you To Install Today 2 7 Essential Tools Every Serious Startup Needs 3 13 Secret Google Functions That Can Instantly Make Your Life Happier And Easier 4 Appraisal of the iPhone Family Tracker app 5 13 Google Apps That Can Greatly Simplify Your Life

      Read Next


      Last Updated on January 13, 2020

      11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

      11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

      Whether at work or at school, people these days are under tremendous pressure to perform, perform and perform! Stress and pressure can have adverse affects on the well-being of a person, and need to be controlled.

      Now, this doesn’t mean you make a dash to your nearest therapist. There are a number of wonderful and smart apps that you can use on your phone. These brain training apps have been scientifically designed to target specific areas of the human mind and control harmful emotions such as anxiety, as well as to improve memory and sharpness of the brain.

      Here are 11 iPhone apps that you will not only enjoy but also find useful in keeping your mental health balanced at all times.

      1. Lumosity

      This app consists of games that focus on improving the user’s memory, problem-solving capability, attention span, and thinking. There are three games in each session, and they challenge the brain by changing every time. The user has to complete the games while playing against a clock.

      Free of trial. $15 per month for the full version.


      Luminosity Mind training apps-Lifehack

        2. Fit Brains Trainer

        This brain training app has 10 sets of games that work on different areas of the brain and improve memory as well as concentration. A user is required to finish a particular task from each category on a daily basis and the app tracks the progress by a color coded graph.


        Fit Brains Trainer Mind training apps-Lifehack

          3. CogniFit Brain Fitness

          Developed with the help of neuroscientists, this fun app improves a person’s cognitive abilities, which includes memory and concentration. The progress made by the user over a period of time can be tracked. Users can also play challenge rounds with their friends. The app also modifies the difficulty level to suit the profile of the user and provide recommendations based on the results. Spending 20–30 minutes a few times every week can give measurable improvement in the performance of a user.

          First four games free, then $13 a month.

          cognifit-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

            4. Brain Fitness Pro

            The makers of this app claim that it can improve the IQ of a user, and improve intelligence and memory. The app is fun and is user friendly, and 30 minutes a day can fetch you results in less than three weeks.


            Buy for $3.99.

            5. Happify

            If nothing else makes you happy in life, this app will. Well, this is what the developers claim at least. This app comes loaded with lots of quizzes, polls and gratitude journals, which work on the fundamentals of positive psychology. The app also helps to control stress and emotions to make you feel better.

            Free to use.

            Happify-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

              6. Clockwork Brain

              You will like the little gold robot that comes in every time to explain the next game you are going to play. While the games are not much different to those offered in apps such as Luminosity, the look and feel reminds me of a workshop from old times.



              Clockwork Trsin-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                7. ReliefLink

                Initially created as an app for suicide prevention, it has found its use as a great app for tracking the mood of the user by taking measure of all things relevant to the user’s mental health. In case the user experiences high emotional stress, the app has a coping mechanism that includes voice-recorded mindfulness, exercises and music for relaxation. There is also a map that informs the user of the nearest therapist and medical facilities for mental health treatment.

                Relief Link - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                  8. Eidetic

                  Eidetic is a memory enhancement app and uses a ‘spaced repetition’ technique to help users memorize information such as important phone numbers, words, credit card details or passwords. It also notifies you when it’s time to take a test to see what you remember, so that you retain information in your long-term memory.

                  Eidetic - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                    9. Braingle

                    Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.


                    Briangle- Mind Training Apps-LIfehack

                      10. Not The Hole Story

                      If you have a penchant for solving hard riddles, then this app is a must-have for you. Filled with exclusive riddles along with a simple-to-use interface, the app gives you riddles that you have to solve through a book. You will be given hints along the way, and when you give up, the answers will be revealed. This app will encourage you to broaden your thinking and put your mind to a challenging test.



                      Not the hole story - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                        11. Personal Zen

                        This fun brain training app follows the journey of two animated characters who travel through a field of grass. Personal Zen is a nice app meant for reducing anxiety and trains the brain to focus on the positive aspects. The developer’s advice is to use the app for 10 minutes a day to see the best results.


                        personal zen- mind training apps - lifehack

                          More to Boost Your Brain Power

                          Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via

                          Read Next