As you prepare to do your 2017 taxes you may find yourself wondering if you can skip your annual trip to an accountant or pop-up tax store in favor of using an iPhone tax app to get your taxes done. Doing your taxes on the iPhone is often as easy as taking a photo of your W-2 to start filling out the 2017 tax return information.
A common question about this is, “Are iPhone tax apps safe?”, which is an important question to ask before you take a photo that includes your Social Security Number and enter in a lot of personal information.
The short answer to this question is, it depends on the app you are using. If you want to use an iPhone tax app to file your 2017 taxes you need to make sure you choose a trustworthy app and that you get the right app.
We reached out to an expert from TaxACT to find out four important things you need to know to make sure your iPhone tax app is safe and things you need to do on your end to keep your information secure.
The most convenient iPhone tax apps let you take a picture of your W-2 form to automate a lot of the process and others help you enter in information from 1099 forms and makes it easier to enter 1098 information for education credits and deductions. Some apps turn filing your taxes from a major hassle that takes an entire afternoon into a process that takes less than 15 minutes and happens on your iPhone.
Are iPhone Tax Apps Safe?
TaxACT spokesperson Jessi Dolmage told Gotta Be Mobile that the first step to making sure your iPhone tax app is safe is to, “Make sure the app is from a reputable company and read the reviews.” There are times when it pays to take a chance on a lesser known company, but you need to make sure you are not handing your personal information over to a scammer.
Make sure you use an iPhone tax app from a company you trust and make sure you only get the app from the iTunes app store and not from a third-party. If you use a jailbroken iPhone, you may want to skip using it to file your taxes unless you take additional steps to secure your iPhone after the jailbreak.
Dolmage also warns users to look for iPhone tax apps that safeguard your information, recommending that users, “Choose an app that doesn’t locally save information like photos of your tax documents. With auto backup services pushing your photos to the cloud and the chance, you could accidentally share a photo like that on social media this is very important.”
Another important thing to look for is an app that includes smart security rules. Dolmage says, “The app should require secure sign in process and automatically sign you out if you’ve been inactive for a period of time or switch to another application.” Another important step is to make sure you are using a strong and secure password that you don’t use on another website and a real email address so you can get updates on your return.
If you enter a fake address someone else may get your tax return information and be able to access your account. In earlier years on of our email addresses received multiple tax return documents because users of a popular service entered a random Gmail address instead of their own. If you use a service like LastPass you can create and store strong passwords and keep them all behind a single very strong password that you remember.
iPhone Tax Apps to File 2017 Taxes
When it comes time to use an iPhone tax app to do your 2017 taxes you should look at these three apps that come from trusted companies.
There are other iPhone tax apps, but if you choose one of those make sure you research the company to make sure that it is worth using and trusting.