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Your Phone Can Do Your Taxes

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If you still haven't done your taxes -- even with the extended April 17 deadline, even though your taxes are pretty simple (no kids, no real estate, no investment income) -- it's time to go mobile.



We tested two new, free tax apps that can help 1040EZ filers put that baby to bed in about 10 minutes. Just grab your W-2 and your phone and read our short guide.




SnapTax by TurboTax will help you "magically" (their word, not ours) file a 1040EZ using a snapshot of your W-2 form and a couple of other forms -- 1099-INT (interest income), 1099-G (unemployment income), or 1098-E (student loan interest). Marketing lingo aside, it was pretty close to having a tax elf.



Just download the app, type in some basic information, and hold your phone steady enough to take a clear shot of your forms. SnapTax automatically copies all that info into your 1040EZ, saving you a lot of data entry time.

 The interface is clean and simple, and it took eight minutes to scan one W-2, answer a few questions, and file a return.

Our one qualm: The refund/ tax bill seemed accurate enough, but with such a pared-down interface, it's hard to feel 100 percent confident. Would more details have changed the bottom line? 

It's hard to say -- and hard to care, given that the sheer convenience (and the relief in getting the damn thing done) trumps those niggling concerns.

 Federal returns: Free
State returns:$20


For iPhone & Android


H&R Block at Home 1040EZ

If SnapTax is the cool kid of smartphone tax return filing, H&R Block is a little more like your uncle the accountant. The slightly more-robust interface takes longer to navigate (Unkie is more conservative and asks more questions), but the idiot-proof W-2-capturing camera feature makes up for it. 



Also, unlike SnapTax, you'll have to create a user ID (even if you have an existing H&R Block account), which is annoying. And the questions you have to clear even before starting seem like a pain -- until you consider that the idea is to flag any issues that might qualify you to file a 1040 instead.



Otherwise, the steps were similar to SnapTax's (as was the refund/bill). But H&R Block lets you file a state return free through April 17, which is a nice bonus.

Federal returns: Free
State returns: Free through April 17, $28 thereafter


For iPhone and Android
 -- 

both apps say they guarantee your best refund, but they can't guarantee you won't fat-finger your way into an audit. Proceed with caution.



Not quite ready to go mobile with your taxes? Try a couple of basic tax apps: TaxCaster and TaxSlayer both estimate your refund (or bill); IRS2Go lets you track the status of your refund.

This post was originally published on DailyWorth.com