Shoot, Snap, Prep, File: Taxes on Your iPhone

Check out SnapTax for 2011 taxes here!

Imagine sitting on the train in your daily commute, grabbing a Saturday afternoon coffee, or killing time at the airport and being able to start and finish your taxes in just minutes.  Sounds like a cool concept, but now doing your taxes on the go is a reality with SnapTax, a new iPhone app coming your way in January. Update: Find out more about the TurboTax SnapTax iPhone app on Intuit Labs now that it’s live.

Available exclusively for California residents this year, SnapTax uses optical character recognition (OCR) software to allow you to prepare and e-file federal and state returns entirely from your iPhone. It’s simple.  In fact, you can file your taxes in just three easy steps:

1. Snap a photo of your 2009 W-2 with your iPhone:

2. Get your maximum refund by answering a few simple questions:

3. Review your tax information, then e-file – all within a matter on minutes:

Amir Eftekhari, app guru and engineering manager for SnapTax at TurboTax, weighs in about revolutionizing the way people do taxes. “At TurboTax we are always looking for ways to make it easier and more convenient for taxpayers to get their maximum refund.  With SnapTax, we’ve made it possible for taxpayers to easily do their taxes on the go in minutes.”

SnapTax will be available in the App Store in mid-January (once the IRS opens e-file) for $9.99, which includes federal and California state preparation and e-file.   To get the most out of SnapTax’s innovative OCR capabilities, we recommend using it with the iPhone 3GS.  Also, check out what others like TechCrunch are saying about SnapTax so far.

If you live in California and have a simple return check it out, and leave us your feedback in the comments. We’ll give five random California commenters a free download.

Comments (13) Leave your comment

  1. I tried to file but when I do I get a message saying “the tax laws haven’t been finalized by the government”?

  2. Online yearbook. Done.

    Online work. Done.

    Online banking. Done.

    Why not online taxpaying? In progress, it seems.

    I qualify for the Snaptax, avoiding the restrictions, and am super-glad! Less time dealing with taxes means more time for sleep. =)

    While I will find this easy to use, it will take some time for other, less tech-savvy folks to adopt and accept this new technology. I am sure that everyone I know (unmarried, under $80k a year, under 65, no major deductions, etc.) will be using this product or something like it in the next few years. I predict that by 2020, 50% of taxpayers under 40 will use this type of mobile-based tax software. Why? Because I’m 29, and in 10 years all of us will be tired of filling out forms of any kind (paper or online). Take a picture, check some blocks, done with taxes – where’s that next episode of Glee 2020 coming out? Or where’s that Inception-jolt I need to control my next dreamscape?

    Remember, you heard it here first. On a corporate blog’s comment section. Ha!

  3. The online application Free OCR allows transforming the contents of an image file in a text output format. Though Microsoft Word is not supported currently.

  4. I finally just caved in and purchased the app which I thought was perfect for me. As it turns out, it’s not so perfect. I’m a student, and paid tuition (and received a 1098-T for 2009. Apparently this was not covered under the restrictions of the “beta” app. I really think that this should have been free. Especially for the limited release (just California) and restricted use (no 1099, or especially no 1098-T). While I did find this easy to use, I think this is absolutely in the Beta stage.

    If anyone is wondering, apparently Apple takes about 30 days to refund, but the nice thing is Intuit does give you a code which allows the money spent on the App to be used as a discount on regular tax-prep software. I’m heading on over to the Free Web-Turbo Tax to see if that works.

  5. When is this going to go national and not just for Califirnia please keep keep me informed if there are any plans in the works

  6. fredy, I understand your perspective, but my experience with “face to face” customer service in regards to my tax preparation has not been the pleasant and customer oriented experience you mention. Just having someone in front of me has led to some very inaccurate information, and multiple trips to the tax preparer. I much prefer to go through a system where I can come back to and make sure all my information is correct. I do agree that sometimes customer service is lacking, but I find that in person as well as online. While I haven’t purchased this app, I have had luck with other methods.

  7. this app will not let me file i put in all of my information and at the end where it says preview right below that says not ready idk know what else to do someone just reply back im getting frustrated.c

  8. I find this a little to much as in a way for them to make all the money to make things seem easy I personally prefer a person to person thing I’m a social person and I belive the best customer service is when u have someone infront of u and questions can be answered right away and wouldn’t have to be on hold for such a long time many people r complaning already about this app some with wrong returns? Seriously? So u call to amend ur return? Just stick to reality and don’t waste ur money on this virtual tax preparer..

  9. Turbo tax has great customer service they helped me with a problem i was having with my state tax form. The women Suslin I spoke to was so polite and calm and was willing to help me even when i wannted to just give up. The hold time for a rep was long but it was worth it.

  10. I understand that this will work with my iPod touch, but since the touch has no camera, will this let me enter the W4 info manually? I would assume so, but before I invest I want to make sure.

    I’m assuming that this will be something updated in future years. So, will the info entered in the application be used again with next years application? Is that the plan anyway?

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