Experts weighs pros, cons of filing taxes on smart phones

January 21, 2013 8:29:03 PM PST
While paying your taxes may not make you feel particularly patriotic, it's that time of year when all Americans have to turn in their income tax returns. This year, the centuries-old duty is getting a high-tech makeover, but does that put your private information at risk?

You can do your taxes with just the click of a button using a smart phone, but should you?

Forget texting or even taking picutres -- smart phones can now be used to files your taxes. It's as easy as downloading an app and taking a picture of your W-2, but there's a catch.

"It really only fits for people who have very simple tax returns," Houston CPA Jim Trippon said.

Trippon says if you typically file a 1040 ezTaxReturn, the app is great. But if you have deductions, then not so much.

"If you have a house, you have charitable deductions, you have children, you pay tuition for education, those applications are really not set up for it," he said.

And you have to think about protecting your financial information as well.

"I would be reluctant to do it over public WiFi, I would do it with my cellular connection. I don't think I would have a problem with the cellular connection," said Jay Lee, a host of the local radio program "Technology Bytes."

Lee says if you are using your own secured WiFi network at home, your information should be protected.

But there are other ways your smart phone can help even those with complicated tax returns. This app, called Shoeboxed can be used to take pictures of receipts all year long and then the information can be used come tax time.

"It automatically indexes and catalogues it for you so you can pick it up at tax time," Trippon said.

Many of the tax apps are free, but no matter what you use to file your taxes, the deadline is April 15.
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