The tax apps cometh

SnapTax iPhone app.

Now if your tax returns are complex, the idea of filling them out on a Blackberry or iPhone may seem ridiculous -- and it is. But for many people, there are mobile apps out there that can help.

We talk to Ina Fried, a senior editor at All Things Digital, a Dow Jones tech news website, about SnapTax. This iPhone app is made by Intuit, the same folks who created TurboTax. Ina says if you have a simple return, just one employer and use standard forms, this app allows you to actually file your return from your phone. Ina says there are other apps that let you track your refund -- even one created by the IRS.

Anytime you fill out tax forms, you will end up using lots of personal, sensitive, financial information. Should you trust your social security number or your bank account details to an app on your mobile phone?

We asked Ted Julian, a security expert and Principal Analyst at the Yankee Group. Ted says there are real security risks on all mobile devices. He says anyone who's tempted to use a mobile app to help with their taxes should make sure they are dealing with a reputable, well-known company. And please, no matter what, don't send in your taxes while surfing the web on a public Wi-Fi network at the local coffee shop. Other people might be able to see it!

Also, producer Larissa Anderson joins us again with a story you may have missed. This time: Tinted Sheen. If you are sick of seeing references to a certain actor (Charlie Sheen) who was recently fired by CBS (winning!) and says outrageous things (tiger blood) online, a new browser plug-in created by Greg Leuch offers hope. Tinted Sheen will block out all references to the former star of "Two and a Half Men" so you never have to read about Emilio Estevez's brother again.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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