How to file your tax return straight from your iPhone or iPad

Your iPhone and iPad are useful for all kinds of tasks and filing your tax returns is no exception. If you're a U.S. resident, you've got until April to get your tax returns filed so a lot of users are thinking about how and when they should file. If you've got a simple return that just involves some W-2's and a few other random income items, there are a few apps out there that can help you get them filed from start to finish.

Before continuing, please be advised that these app recommendations are based on simple to standard returns. If you have more complicated returns such as self employment income and other investments, we recommend speaking to an accountant or financial advisor before filing your taxes online and choosing an online option. In many cases, a certified professional is better off handling complex returns.

TurboTax SnapTax for iPhone

TurboTax's SnapTax app for iPhone allows you to quickly tax photos of your W-2's and then import your other information to file your federal and state return. If you've only got a few W-2's to sort out and a few other random income items, SnapTax should make the process pretty quick and painless. If you've got mortgage interest and other deductions you need to take, SnapTax may no longer be your best option.

You can start filing your taxes for free and if you decide to complete the process using SnapTax, you'll be charged $24.99 to file both federal and state straight from the SnapTax app. If you decide you don't want to file with SnapTax, the app is free and you aren't committed to paying anything unless you actually file your taxes.

H&R Block 1040EZ 2012

H&R Block has a few offerings for iPhone and the 1040EZ 2012 app for iPhone is aimed at users who don't have very much to file. If you've only got regular income wages from a job, or even a few, the 1040EZ should work for you. If you own your own home and need to be able to deduct mortgage interest or other investments and credits, this version of H&R Block's software probably isn't for you.

While H&R Block offers simple tax preparation for free, you may be required to make an in-app purchase in order to actually file depending on your return type and what you need to claim. There is no charge to calculate your taxes within the app and you aren't committed to paying anything until you decide whether or not you'd like to file your return with H&R Block.

H&R Block at Home 2012 for iPad

H&R Block also offers their At Home suite for iPad which allows you to easily file basic taxes for free. If you've got anything beyond a basic return, you can still use the At Home software from your iPad to file your taxes but you may be required to pay a fee via an in-app purchase in order to complete your return.

Examples of more advanced an non-free tax returns are anything requiring a schedule C for self employment income or any other type of investment or income that requires additional schedules. This includes capital gains and losses, farm income, and a few other items. Before deciding whether H&R Block at Home 2012 for iPad is right for you, we recommend you know exactly what you need to file and read through H&R Block's descriptions on what kinds of income are considered what. As always, you'll be charged if you'd like to file your state along with your federal return through At Home 2012.

TaxACT Free Federal Edition for iPad

TaxACT also offers an iPad app that allows you to file your federal taxes for free. TaxACT also covers simple and more advanced returns but depending on what you need to file, there may be additional charges in the form of an in-app purchase depending on what you're filing. State will also cost you an additional amount if you'd like to file both returns together.

The TaxACT app will also allow you to track the status of your e-file at any time. There's also an iPhone app counterpart but it seems as if it simply allows you to check the status of your returns. If you'd like to file with TaxACT, you'll need to make sure you do it from your iPad.