Jan. 14, 2011 at 3:06 PM ET
This year, if your taxes are simple — and we mean super-simple — you can use Intuit's TurboTax "SnapTax" program on your iPhone or Android phone to file.
The program uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to "streamline and simplify tax preparation and shows a running tally of the refund, or taxes owed, every step of the way," according to Intuit.
SnapTax is free to download, but does cost $14.99 when you're ready to electronically file your federal 1040EZ form and one state tax return. A 1040EZ file means that your taxes are easy to calculate; nothing too fancy or complex.
However, "in addition to wage income, you can have 1099 INT, and even unemployment to use the app and file a 1040EZ," said Colleen Gatlin of Intuit.
You use your phone's camera to take a picture of your W-2 form, the app slurps it up, gets the info from it. You get asked a few questions by the app. Then it figures out your tax bill.
There are a few requirements your devices best have to make this smooth. An Intuit rep told me that SnapTax supports all iPhones, but "best results" are with an iPhone 3GS or 4 for "picture-taking quality." Users also must have iOS version 4.1 and above to use SnapTax.
Android users need to be running version 2.1 of the Android operating system, and "the photo part works best with cameras with resolutions of 3 megapixels and above."
The app is available from Apple's App Store or SnapTax.com.
Electronic filing of tax returns is certainly the way things are heading; last year about 70 percent of all IRS returns filed — 142.4 million — were submitted electronically, according to the Associated Press.
But filing both electronically and via mobile is still pretty new. Intuit tested SnapTax last year in California only. This is the first year it's available for nationwide use.
(FYI: The Internal Revenue Service started accepting electronically filed 2010 tax returns today, and if any of you are ready to file, major hat tip to you. I'm still trying to find receipts and check stubs).