Mobile tax apps make filing "smart"

An old American ritual--paying taxes--is getting a modern update. This year, you can prepare, file, and monitor your tax return all from your smartphone.

Turbo Tax's "SnapTax" is an innovative app for tax preparation on the go. Here's how it works: install the app, snap a photo of your W2, fill out some pretty standard questions and then you're done! You can even file both your state and federal returns directly -- and securely -- from your smartphone. This app costs $19.99 and is ideal for people with the simplest returns: those without children, who don't own property and with incomes less than $100,000 a year.

Another big name, H&R Block, has also gotten into the mobile game. They now offers FREE tax filing apps for iPhone, Android, and iPad:

H&R Block At Home 1040EZ app: Federal 1040EZ and State tax prep that's FREE to prepare, print and e-file. Users can photograph their W-2 to save time and automatically import data into the app.

H&R Block At Home Free Edition app: Federal tax prep (1040 or 1040A forms) that's FREE to prepare, print and e-file from an iPad. Taxpayers can access and edit their return from either their iPad or computer's browser by upgrading to H&R Block At Home Deluxe Edition 2011.

For more information about H&R Block's mobile tax apps, visit

Finally, the US government's free download, IRS2Go, is more of an information hub than a toolkit for preparing and filing, but there are a few useful features. You can monitor your refund status and even order old tax records to be mailed to you.

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