4 Free Ways to Do Your Taxes on Your Phone

These are 4 ways you can file your taxes for free using your iphone. One of them even offers free state tax filing as well as free federal filing! Enjoy!Are you ready to start working on your state and federal tax returns?

There’s an app for that!

Actually, there are several free ways to do your taxes on your tablet or smartphone.

Suddenly, tax time just got a little less taxing – and maybe even a little more fun.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t recall ever using the words “tax” and “fun” together in the same sentence before.

But as I’ve experimented with doing taxes on my iPhone and iPad, I must admit that it did feel a little fun to do them on a mobile device instead of a desktop or laptop computer.

Some can handle any tax situation, while others are only for people with very simple tax returns (like 1040EZ). And they all guarantee they’ll give you the biggest refund. 😉

To get started, all you need is your mobile device.


Free Tax Apps for Smartphones and Tablets

1. TurboTax App for Smartphones

Doing taxes on your iPhone or Android is a snap thanks to the SnapTax app from TurboTax. If you can take pictures with your smartphone, and your tax situation is very basic, you can file your state and federal tax return with SnapTax.

Just snap a photo of your W-2 and the app does the hard work of extracting all of your information and filling in the form for you. Next, answer a few simple questions and you’re ready to e-file.

Unfortunately, SnapTax isn’t for everyone.  It is designed for people who have only W-2 income, don’t itemize deductions, and can file the 1040-EZ or the 1040A form.

If you receive retirement or dividend income or itemize deductions for mortgage interest, medical expenses, or charitable deductions, you’ll need to use TurboTax’s app for the iPad, or the online version, which is optimized for mobile.

Cost:  The best part about it is that it is FREE for Federal, State, and to file. 

2. TurboTax App for the iPad

If SnapTax can’t handle your tax situation, or you want to use a mobile device with a screen that is bigger than the one on your smartphone, the TurboTax iPad app may be just what you need.

The TurboTax app is a full version of TurboTax on your iPad. It gives you the convenience of doing your taxes on the fly, and allows you to use it here and there instead of all at once.

Like you’ve come to expect from TurboTax, the iPad app asks you questions to guide you through entering your tax information, and double-checks to make sure you don’t miss deductions that could save you money and increase your refund.

Cost:  The best part about it is that it is FREE for Federal, State, and to file. 

Free Tax Sites Optimized for Mobile Devices

3. eSmartTax Mobile for Tablets and Smartphones

Liberty Tax offers free federal e-filing via its mobile-optimized eSmartTax site. Use your smartphone or tablet to answer questions that guide you through the process of entering your financial information.

When you’re done, it transmits your returns securely to the IRS, all from your smartphone or tablet. You can even get started on your taxes on your mobile device and finish on the eSmartTax website from any computer.

Cost: eSmartTax Mobile is free to use. E-file your federal taxes for free using the basic edition for simple tax situations. Deluxe and premium upgrades are available. State e-file is just $19.95.

4. TaxACT Free Federal Edition for iPad and Android Tablets

Whether your tax situation is simple or complicated, TaxACT is available to help you prepare and file your return from your iPad or Android tablet.

Basic federal e-filing is free, but more complicated tax returns will require a $9.95 upgrade to a more robust version of TaxACT (you don’t pay until you’re ready to file). State returns are available for an additional fee.

Data is synced with TaxACT’s website, so your information is available to you anytime, anywhere, via computer or tablet.

Cost: TaxACT Mobile is free to use. E-file federal taxes for free using the basic edition. Deluxe upgrade is $9.95 and state e-file is $19.99.

Do Your Taxes Wherever, Whenever with Your Mobile Device

Thanks to these smartphone and tablet tax apps and mobile-optimized sites, it’s easier than ever to do taxes whenever and wherever you want.

Personally, I think it would be fun to do my taxes with my iPad while sitting on the beach someday. But I’m afraid that all of my receipts would blow away!

You can use all of these tax apps and mobile sites for free to see how they work. You don’t pay until you’re ready to e-file.

I tried them all on my iPad from the comfort of my easy chair, while doing taxes for my dad, who is retired. SnapTax didn’t work for his situation because of his 1099 retirement income, so I use it with my 16-year old son, on my iPhone, to help him do his taxes. He filed for the first time this year. Lucky guy.

It’s not practical for everyone to do their taxes on their mobile device. But for those who can – especially those who file the 1040EZ – it’s great to have the option!

This article was originally written in 2013, but updated for 2016.

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  1. Jake Erickson

    It’s great to see that the mobile movement has made it to taxes this year. I agree that it “seems” a bit more fun to do it on the Ipad, but I can’t imagine doing a full return on my phone. Then again, our tax return isn’t as simple as others’ are. Thanks for the list and the prices of using each one!

  2. Joe

    My taxes are not too complicated, but I still use a CPA. I don’t mean a store front guy. I find one where I visit his home. When you develop a relationship, you receive tax tips unique to your situation that more than pays for his/her fees. This might not be every year, but over the long haul, in my case, he has paid for himself for my lifetime.

    The H&R Block guy has no interest other than getting through the forms quickly. He is not interested in repeat business because few remain for a career. Meanwhile, the CPA is interested in repeat business and your referrals.

    • Joe, thanks for sharing your insights! It is great that you’ve got someone you can count on and who is looking out for you.

      Six or seven years ago, I hired a reputable local Christian-owned CPA firm to do my taxes. It was a small firm with maybe 3-4 guys doing taxes. I used them for only two years because in that second year, the CPA forgot to file my return!

      He called me in May to say that “oops” he had forgotten to file it because when he finished my return (with me sitting right there in his office at the time), he submitted it first to the head of the firm for him to look it over. And then it somehow got lost in the shuffle.

      Gratefully, because I didn’t owe, there was no penalty.

    • Joe

      Talk about somebody watching me, as always. I was retired and did not pay much attention to a big annuity I had. You know, out of sight, out of mind. 2 years later I got nervous about it during a booming economy. I cashed it out and put it in an IRA in the bank. The annuity salesman said, “You stepped in, you should step out to get those big gains.” I cashed out anyway. The market crashed within a few months and I sold out for a historic high for me. On the other hand, was I rich? No. The gain was hard to calculate because I contributed every month over so many years. I figured, I did not do too much better than if it was in CDs. Every time I renew the CDs or move it to another bank for better interest, the BANK wants me to buy some kind of insurance product for a better yield. No thanks. Enough is enough. I sleep better.

  3. Jake, thanks for your comment. Yes, the simpler the tax situation, the easier it is to do them on a mobile device. I was just realizing that my church, along with many others, offers free tax preparation for senior citizens and low-income people. Presuming that many of these folks have fairly simple tax situations, using an iPad would probably be a great option for the volunteer tax preparers.

  4. Lisa Whitney-Sprague

    I just wanted to let you know that Tax Act is not what it is cracked up to be. I just spent the last hour doing our taxes on there and it said it would charge me $14.95 to file the state ones,and I used direct deposit so they wanted to charge a $17.95 fee for bank fees! WHAT? I’m using my own bank/direct deposit,how can they charge me for THEIR bank? PLUS,they didn’t say anything about a bank fee till I was done! I just clicked out…forget it! I am not FILING with them! Forget it!

    • Lisa, thanks for sharing your experience. From what I understand, TaxACT does charge the “bank fee” if you elect to pay their e-filing fee from your expected federal refund (if it is $100 or more). In that case, the IRS deposits your refund into Tax ACT’s bank account (at Republic Bank) so they can deduct your e-filing fee, then Republic Bank deposits the money into your own bank account.