New app lets you file taxes via smart phone
TurboTax's mobile tax program works with iPhone or Android if you use form 1040EZ.
If you can buy coffee with your phone, why can't you file your taxes?
You can, if your financial life is simple.
TurboTax has rolled out the first tax-filing app for smart phones, SnapTax, which can be used by anyone filing a 1040EZ return. About 2,000 Californians used the program to file their state returns last year.
PC World explains how the app works:
To get started with SnapTax, you need to photograph your W-2 forms with the camera in your smart phone. The app uses optical character recognition to "read" the information in the pictures and pump it into the appropriate forms. Then it asks you some pertinent questions, lets you review the final forms manually, and then files the forms electronically. All through the process, the app keeps a running tab of your refund -- just like the desktop version of the software.
Intuit, the program's maker, has a video and detailed instructions.
Not everyone can use the mobile tax program.
The 1040EZ is the short form for taxpayers filing simple returns -- standard deduction, no dependents -- who earn less than $100,000 a year. They can be single or married filing a joint return.
If you fit into that group, you must also have the right phone. As Suzanne Choney of MSNBC's Technolog reported, if you're using an iPhone, you must have iOS 4.1 or above. An iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 work best.
Android users need version 2.1 of the operating system and preferably a camera with a resolution of 3 megapixels or better.
The app is free, but Turbo Tax charges you $14.99 to file both your state and federal tax return -- something you can do free if you'd rather use the old-fashioned technology called the Internet.
You can file your federal return free using TurboTax online if you use form 1040EZ, but the company charges $27.95 per state return.
The best deal may be from the IRS: Anyone who makes $58,000 or less can file free through the IRS site.
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