January 18, 2011, 10:46 AM — Want to file your federal and state income taxes from your smartphone? There's an app for that.
TurboTax has released versions of its SnapTax application for iOS and Android that allow taxpayers who file the 1040EZ form with the Internal Revenue Service to do so from their mobiles. Previously, the app could only be used by California residents.
The app is free, but TurboTax charges $14.99 to file the tax returns.
To get started with SnapTax, you need to photograph your W-2 forms with the camera in your smartphone. 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.
It's estimated that some 22 million Americans are eligible to file a 1040EZ. The simple return is for taxpayers who claim the standard deduction, have no dependents and earn less than $100,000. People who file the form tend to be the "young and mobile crowd," a TurboTax spokesperson told USA Today.
TurboTax's announcement of SnapTax was greeted with favorable comments at its website. Observed one commentator: "Shoot, snap, file. What an easy way to do taxes! Thanks for making this an easy job for me this year."
"Apps like this one is exactly why I bought a Droid Pro," added another comment writer, "I told my husband I'd make my phone earn its keep. What a fantastic idea and I can't wait to try it; great for people like me who sometimes type too fast and make errors with inputting data."