It's a new year, which means that in a few months, taxes will come due yet again. So why not get a head start on them with your iPhone -- there is, it turns out, an app for that. TurboTax has an app coming out called SnapTax that promises to make taxes easy. All you do is take a picture of your W2 form with the camera, and then the software automatically reads the form, extracts the necessary information, and then uploads it into TurboTax's software and processes your return. Pretty amazing.
There are, of course, a few drawbacks here. First is that you need to be in California. While the software will eventually work everywhere, they're beta testing in the Golden State this year only. Second is that you should have a later generation iPhone -- the optical text software works better with more processor power, so you'll have to fix fewer errors on your 3GS than earlier versions of the hardware. And finally, you'll need to have a pretty simple tax return. There are more options to handle more complicated tax issues, but basically the software is designed for a simple W2 plus maybe some extra income. Being a freelancer, I have all sorts of hoops to jump through, so I'll have to head to the accountant yet again.
But hopefully this will help some of you. The app is coming later this month and will be available for $9.99. I'm not sure if that includes the actual return, but if it does, that's a bargain. If you're lucky enough to be in California and in the position to use this app, keep an eye out for it.