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New apps let you file return via smartphone

Getting ready to dive into a stack of tax forms?

There’s an app for that.

Android and iPhone users can download the Turbo Tax SnapTax application, and with a few taps and clicks, file their taxes by phone.

SnapTax is available to the roughly 22 million households who can use the form 1040EZ.

The program instructs users to use the phone’s camera to snap a picture of their W-2s. The data captured in the image is input onto the proper lines on the tax form. Or you can add the dollar amounts manually.

As for security, the program uses the same privacy and security requirements as TurboTax.

You can try SnapTax for free, but when it comes time to e-file, it will cost $14.99 for one federal and one state tax return.

This year, the IRS is also promoting its new IRS2Go smartphone application. The free app, available through the Apple Store or Android Marketplace, allows you to look up tax tips and check the status of your tax refund.

Job search expenses may be deductible

Some expenses incurred while seeking a new job are deductible on your taxes.

Several websites explain the criteria for taking a job-search tax deduction. Here’s a sampling of sites:

AARP: Lists six rules for taking a job-search tax deduction. Covers write-offs for individuals and tax deduction rules related to looking for work. deducting-job-search-costs.aspx Provides information about specific job-hunt tax deductions.

H&R Block: Discusses allowable job search tax deductions and qualifications. Spotlights four key job-hunting deduction areas.

Treasury offers cards for refunds

Low-income taxpayers who don’t have bank accounts will be able to get their tax refunds on prepaid debit cards supplied by the government.

The Treasury Department sent letters to 600,000 households offering to put their tax refunds on the debit cards, which can be used to get money from ATMs or to buy goods and services from retailers.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to have their tax refunds deposited directly into bank accounts. For those without bank accounts, the debit cards will allow them to avoid check-cashing fees.

Taxpayers can get refunds faster with the debit cards than with checks, said Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin.

Cardholders won’t have to pay service fees if they use the cards to withdraw money from ATMs in the MoneyPass network. They will have to pay regular service fees if they use ATMs outside the network.

The program will also be open to workers who get paid by their employers using payroll cards, which are similar to prepaid debit cards. The Treasury Department said more than 1.7 million U.S. workers receive their wages on payroll cards.


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