Filing your taxes: There's an app for that - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Money

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Filing your taxes: There's an app for that

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Related Stories

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 3:00 pm

For the taxpayer on the go trying to file a return quickly and easily, there's an app for it.

"We're trying to anticipate and follow trends you see in the real world," said Bob Meighan, a vice president at TurboTax.

And the trend is mobile, from smartphones to tablets. "People want simple solutions," he said.

Taxes-on-the-go applications are a natural next step to the explosion in electronic filing. TurboTax has SnapTax, which allows those filing the simplest tax form - 1040EZ - to file directly from their iPhone or android. Similarly, H&R Block has H&R Block At Home for filing simple returns via those smartphones.

The IRS says the typical 1040EZ filer is a wage earner who has income of less than $100,000, is under 65, and doesn't have kids, own a home, or qualify for most other deductions or credits.

Meighan said about 24 million people file the 1040EZ. "You can literally do your return in 10 or 15 minutes max," he said.

Taxpayers can use smartphones to take pictures of documents like the W-2 form, and an optical reader in the application imports the photos into the tax forms.

Both companies allow you to download the applications for free, but there's a cost for filing.

"We take away the barrier of entry, provide confidence along the way and provide support along the way," said Gene King, spokesman for H&R Block. He said the company also offers audit protection for filers using the smartphone app.

What if you lose your phone?

"People should always be concerned about security," Meighan said. "We've done the work to mitigate your file being compromised."

For one thing, he said, the data is encrypted and stored on the TurboTax server, not on the phone. Within an hour, if the data is not saved or accessed, the application deletes it.

The Internal Revenue Service also has an application for iPhones and androids, IRS2Go, that lets taxpayers check on the status of refunds and get tips. It can't be used to actually file a return. A report by the Inspector General for Tax Administration said that for security reasons, taxpayers should only download the application from the Apple App store or the Android Market.

IRS spokesman Terry Lemons said an update to the IRS app later this year will link to the agency's YouTube videos and give taxpayer tips. "We're never going to challenge Angry Birds for downloads but we got a pretty good response last year," he said.

H&R Block and TurboTax also have iPad applications that enable taxpayers to file more complicated returns, similar to how they might do it using a home computer.

More than 112 million tax returns were filed electronically last year, the IRS said, up 13.7 percent from the previous year.

Electronic filing can speed the processing of your tax return. And, if you choose direct deposit, you'll get your refund much more quickly, in as few as 10 days, the IRS says.

The agency also cites an error rate of just 1 percent for electronically filed returns, compared with 20 percent for paper returns.

Taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes under $57,000 can electronically file for free through the IRS website The agency has agreements with tax preparation companies to provide the service, and you can choose which one you would like to use.

If your income is higher than that threshold, the agency provides on its website Fillable Forms, which do basic math calculations and allow you to file electronically. No support is provided with the Fillable Forms, nor are state returns included. The IRS calls it "the simple electronic equivalent of paper forms."

Lemons said he expects the number of returns filed electronically to continue to rise.

In a November report, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration called on the IRS to improve the way it tracks performance and security issues in its new e-filing system, scheduled to be fully in place by 2013.

"Since a growing number of Americans are filing their returns electronically, there is no room for error in IRS computer systems," J. Russell George, the inspector general, said in a statement. "The IRS must be relentless in its pursuit of excellence with regard to all aspects of the Modernized e-file system."

The IRS responded that it addresses any security weaknesses immediately.

For more information, visit the IRS page on 1040EZ at

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Cardinals-Seahawks tie on Sunday Night Football was for masochists

We’re here to talk you down. Because we all shared in the agony of the dropped catches in key situations. We witnessed the missed bunny field …

Published: October 23, 2016 - 9:52 pm @…

What I've Learned After 50 Years of Running

I took up running—as so many have—because I’d gotten pudgy. My wife and I had been wasting a summer in a shabby Paris hotel, where the hard-pr…

Published: October 23, 2016 - 8:30 pm @…

Miss Gay America Suzy Wong on AIDS Walk Arizona, Drag as a Gateway to Gay Culture, and Being a Bro in the Kitchen

Janessa Hilliard A A Arnold Myint is no stranger to the spotlight. The 30-something chef and restaurateur runs a handful of successful Nashvil…

Published: October 23, 2016 - 8:22 pm @…

‘The Walking Dead’ Season 7 Premiere: Negan’s Victim Revealed In Bloody Opener

TV AMC SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details of tonight’s Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead. They said someone important would die …

Published: October 23, 2016 - 8:15 pm @…


Story by Brian Maffly; photos by Chris Detrick Questa, N.M. • If there’s one thing Bobby Ortega has learned over the years, it’s that federal …

Published: October 23, 2016 - 7:51 pm @

Take a look at some of the best costumes from Phoenix Fan Fest 2016 (photos)

PHOENIX - From television shows to movies to comic books and video games, there were a plenty of characters on display at this year's Phoenix …

Published: October 23, 2016 - 7:45 pm @…

Massive New Changes Coming To Wendy's Because Of $15 Minimum Wage...

I think their mantra of “Fight for 15” means 15 percent unemployment, not $15 per hour. Because as the minimum wage fight rages on – and as st…

Published: October 23, 2016 - 6:21 pm @…

Jan Brewer Insults EVERY American POW While Defending Draft Dodging Trump

Prisoners of war are routinely subjected to torture. One form of torture that is regularly used is waterboarding, which is a horrific simulati…

Published: October 23, 2016 - 5:51 pm @…

Here’s what voter fraud looks like in 23 states

Print Here�s What Voter Fraud Looks Like In 23 States By Justin Caruso Reprinted with permission of the Daily Caller News Foundation Republica…

Published: October 23, 2016 - 4:50 pm @…

Trump receives his first major newspaper endorsement, and he has Sheldon Adelson to thank

The Las Vegas Review-Journal became the first major newspaper to endorse Donald Trump for president this election season, stating that, while …

Published: October 23, 2016 - 4:20 pm @…

Facebook on Facebook

Twitter on Twitter


Subscribe to via RSS

RSS Feeds


Most Popular

Online poll