SnapTax: Do Your Taxes At Lightning Speed

NEW YORK (MainStreet) —I did my taxes the other afternoon while waiting for the Red Line in Chicago. It took about five minutes, but to be fair that’s mostly because my phone is old and gets bad service.

Welcome to the world with SnapTax, the Android and i0s app from TurboTax. Now at crunch time, there are a few quick-fix apps out there, but if you have a relatively simple return to file, you might stick with SnapTax.

I’ll be honest, before reviewing this app, I’d never considered doing my taxes on a smartphone. Doing everything else, sure, but taxes have always been something I save for Saturday afternoon, a sputtering calculator and a bottle of dark liquor to ease the pain. To my surprise, though, the platform turned out to be a natural fit.

“People are using their mobile smartphones for everything now,” said Ashley McMahon, a spokesperson for TurboTax who released the SnapTax app. “Consumers want to be able to use [them] for everything from shopping to banking and now their taxes.”

McMahon has a point. Since the IRS introduced e-filing in its current form, the service has exploded. Over 100 million returns were filed online in 2011, covering almost 75% of all taxpayers. Many people are even already required use e-filing. For businesses worth more than $10 million, or entity filing more than 100 returns at a time, the IRS no longer accepts hard copies at all. Calling e-filing the wave of the future is like saying those guys over at Google are probably going to make it.

SnapTax wants to take advantage of e-filing’s phenomenal success. With this app you can add tax preparation to your list of in-between activities, the things to do while waiting for a train or sitting at lunch. It would be easy to say that scheduling your taxes around your life is a major feature of doing them on a smartphone, and it really is. It’s also, however, an unnecessary one. As I discovered, with SnapTax, that first five minutes is all you need.