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Smartphone apps can file taxes, check refunds

SnapTax

SnapTax (Credit: Intuit)

Filing your tax return and checking the status of your refund can now be as easy as snapping a photo of your 1040.

TurboTax just released SnapTax, a new smartphone application that allows taxpayers who file a 1040EZ  the ability to prepare and file their federal and state income tax returns.

Coincidentally, the Internal Revenue Service is also releasing its own free app, IRS2Go, that gives filers the chance to track refunds if returns have been filed electronically.

Both apps are free and available for both the iPhone and Android phones; but those using SnapTax will have to pay $14.99 via the app to file their tax returns.

SnapTax requires users to take photograph their W-2 forms with their smartphones, and then the app transfers the information to the relevant lines on Form 1040EZ using optical-character-recognition technology.

The users then need to answer a few questions before they file. After all the necessary information is gathered, the app shows the amount of the refund, just like traditional tax preparation software does.

TurboTax says the entire process, from the moment the app is opened to when the 1040EZ form is sent, can take just 15 to 30 minutes. Last year, TurboTax ran a succesful trial run of SnapTax in California.

SnapTax and IRS2Go are available in the Android Market and Apple App Store. Neither is available for BlackBerry.

April 18 is the federal tax filing deadline this year.

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