Can you file your taxes on an app? Here’s what you need to know

Should you do your taxes on your smartphone or tablet?


US tax season is still a few days away – you can file taxes starting January 24, 2022 – but until then you can start preparing. This includes finding last year’s forms, collecting the necessary forms (W-2, 1099, and 1098) for the current tax year, rounding up your receipts, and choosing a tax application. tax form?

If you’re planning on filing your own taxes on your iPhone or Android this year, there are a few things you need to know, good and bad. In this guide, we’ll show you what you need to know before you file on your smartphone or tablet. And if you’re planning on going mobile this year, we’ll take a closer look at three tax apps that can do the trick.

iPad Mini and 9th generation iPad

You can start taxes on one device and collect them on another.

Scott Stein/CNET

Why should I do my taxes on my smartphone or tablet?

You might not want to do taxes on your smartphone as it might seem difficult and tedious, but there are many reasons why it might be a good idea for you:

It is convenient. Not everyone has access to a computer, but most people do own a smartphone, whether it’s an Android or iOS device. The most popular tax apps are available on both the Play Store (Google) and the App Store (Apple), so filing taxes on your mobile device, especially a tablet, is incredibly convenient if you don’t have no laptop or desktop.

It could be faster. If you’ve used a tax app before, reusing it can speed up the filing process with previously saved information. And if you take advantage of mobile features, such as scanning documents with your camera, you could potentially complete your taxes faster on a phone or tablet than on a computer.

Live support is available on the camera. If you’re having trouble completing any of the tax forms through the app, you may be able to video call with a tax professional (like an accountant or lawyer) for personalized advice. And if you’re worried about them seeing your information, they can’t. They do not have access to your personal information unless you provide it to them.


Scammers and hackers could take advantage of you doing your taxes on your mobile device.

Queenie Wong/CNET

What’s wrong with doing my taxes on a mobile device?

As with everything, there’s the flip side, which isn’t necessarily terrible but shows the negative side of doing taxes on your mobile device.

This could be a major security issue. Most of these tax apps have a built-in feature that allows you to scan your physical W-2 or other tax documents with your smartphone camera, to automatically import your information such as social security number, address and your phone number. Unfortunately, this can save a photo to your camera roll, which is bad news if you forget to delete it and your phone is then lost or stolen. If someone has access to your device, they could easily find photos with all your valuable information and use them for evil purposes.

This can be difficult to do, especially if your taxes are complicated. Have you invested in cryptocurrency this year? Did you buy a house? Do you own a business? If you answered yes to any of these questions, filing your taxes on your phone or tablet might not be the best idea because working on your phone can become unwieldy when taxes get more complicated.

Features available on desktop may not be available on mobile. Often when computer software is transferred to a mobile, certain functions and settings are lost. It could be something as simple as a file size limit for uploads, which could make it harder to upload files to the tax app through your phone. Either way, these missing features can make it harder to pay your taxes on mobile.

If you choose to go mobile for your taxes this year, here are some of the best tax apps available.

TurboTax. TurboTax from Intuit is one of the most popular tax apps available on mobile devices. If you used the online version on your computer, the application is pretty much the same. To get started, you’ll be asked to answer several questions so that TurboTax better understands what your tax return will look like (dependants, deductions, credits, etc.). Once this is complete, you can begin the free e-filing process (you will need to pay for more complicated filings) using a number of features: document scanning, video calls with tax professionals, cross-device integration, the previous year. transfer and more – to make everything as seamless as possible.

H&R block. The H&R Block Tax File and Prep app offers many of the same features as the other apps on this list. You scan documents with your camera, seek help from tax experts, use multiple devices to complete e-filing, and enable security features like two-factor authentication and Face ID/Touch ID sign-in options . Once you are ready to file your return, you can have a tax professional do a thorough review of your return and file it on your behalf, or do it yourself. You can file for free if you have a simple tax return, but there are also paid options for more complex taxes (you only pay when you’re ready to file).

Tax killer. TaxSlayer isn’t a household name like the other two tax apps on this list, but there’s one major reason to consider using it for e-filing on your smartphone this year: cost. Although it lacks some of the features of its competitors, like scanning documents with your camera or receiving mid-year tax records, TaxSlayer offers good prices for more complicated tax returns that involve work. independent, investments, rental properties and more.

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Taxes are due very soon, so we’ve got you covered. To verify how to scan important tax documents with your phone or tablet and the best tax software for 2022: TurboTax, H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt and others compared.

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