Most people don’t want to be tracked by apps or websites for privacy reasons, but there are those who actively want their location to be constantly tracked for tax reasons – and there are apps to meet that need …

The New York Times explains that states with high taxes are often suspicious when a high earner claims to have left the state to live elsewhere.

As the managing director of a private equity firm, Jeff Sheu is exactly the type of high earner California does not want to lose. When people in his tax bracket leave, the state is likely to audit them to make sure they really have left.

With the May 17 tax filing deadline approaching, people who have moved to another state or are working more remotely need to be extra vigilant with their tax documents. For Mr. Sheu, that involves an app on his smartphone that uses location services to track him all the time. What he is sacrificing in privacy, he is gaining in peace of mind, knowing he will be able to show exactly when and where he was in a particular state, should California’s tax authority come after him.

Tax-starved states are none too happy to see big taxpayers leave. Enter the need to track meticulously where you are all the time.

With the pandemic seeing more people able to work from anywhere, what was once a problem only for the highest earners can be one for those on more modest incomes too. If you live in one state but work for a company based in another, you may need to prove that fact.

Enter apps that track and record your location, so that if you are ever required to prove where you live and work, you have the evidence to do so.

These apps operate on a subscription model and are modestly priced. TaxBird, for example, costs $34.99 a year. After a free 90-day trial, TaxDay charges users $9.99 a month. Monaeo is geared more toward high earners and offers more options for its service, charging $99 a month or $999 a year.

“We’ve seen a fourfold increase in our app without any advertising in the past year,” said Jonathan Mariner, founder and president of TaxDay, who was himself audited when he worked for Major League Baseball in New York but lived in Florida

The piece also explains how states are battling one another over the tax jurisdictions of those who live in one state, normally work in another, but are currently working from home.

Photo: NASA

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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