How to scan important tax documents with your phone this tax season

Still relying on paper documents for your tax returns? You're not alone. “Paper is the IRS's kryptonite,” said tax advocate Erin M. Collins, but the truth is that the agency received nearly 13 million paper tax returns in 2023, and many of taxpayers still receive important tax returns by mail. Most of us are lucky to have digital versions of our tax documents, but if you don't, don't worry. It's easy to scan documents with your phone or tablet and import them into TurboTax, TaxSlayer, or your favorite tax software. .

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Digitizing your tax forms allows you to easily upload information such as your tax ID and source of income to the services you use. You don't have to enter everything manually, but it can be tedious if it's complex. tax.

This story is part of 2024 taxesCNET covers the best tax software, tax tips, and everything else you need to file your return and track your refund.

Convert your physical tax documents to digital format using just your phone or tablet. Whether you're using an iOS or Android device, your iPhone or Android has a built-in tool that lets you quickly scan physical documents using your camera and easily convert them to PDF. Here's how:

Be sure to check it out during your stay. 2024 Tax Cheat Sheet We'll also explain how you can file your taxes for free in 2024.

How to scan tax documents with your iPhone or iPad

If you have an iPhone or iPad, there are several ways to scan documents with your camera, but we'll focus on using the Files app. This method is recommended because the document is saved to a file, making it easier to edit and share it on your computer or other device.

1. first, File App.

2. next, three dot menu icon It's on the top right.

3.strike scan a document.

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You can scan physical documents on iOS using the Files app.

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The camera will open and you will be asked to place the document in view. The best way to scan your tax documents is to place them on a flat surface, such as a table or desk, in a well-lit area. Keep it away from white surfaces or surfaces that reflect too much light. Otherwise, the camera will not be able to properly scan the document.

Then, place your phone or tablet directly over the document and a blue overlay will appear over the document to indicate it's being scanned. If a document is scanned successfully, it will be automatically placed in your completed scans, so you can scan more documents if needed.

You can then tap the document preview in the bottom left to rescan or edit the document. You can crop the image or add filters (such as grayscale) to improve readability in case the automatic scan doesn't work.When you're satisfied with your scan, tap keep Save the document as a PDF in the Files app. You can then rename the document or share it via email. If you plan to file your taxes on a mobile device, you can also upload the PDF to the Tax app via the Files app.

How to scan tax documents on Android

There are several ways to scan documents on Android, and they usually vary slightly depending on your phone model. Smartphones newer than the Pixel 7 and Galaxy S22 have a document scanner built into the camera app, but others don't. So, instead, scan your documents through the Google Drive app (although this isn't technically built-in, most Android devices come with the Google Drive app pre-installed, so it works just as well) ).

1. first, google drive App.

2.Then tap on the blue part + button It's on the bottom right.

3.Then tap scan.

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Google Drive makes it easy to scan your tax forms.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Lay the actual tax document flat on a non-reflective surface and place the camera directly on the paper and within the frame. Make sure your tax document is in focus and press the shutter button to take the photo.If you like the image, please tap it. got it. You will see an automatically cropped image of your tax document. You can then add filters (such as black and white) to the document, rotate it, and edit borders. If you would like to add more documentation, + Icon on the bottom left.

Once you are satisfied with the scan, click keep It's on the bottom right. Next, name your document, select your account (if you have more than one), and select the folder where you want to save the document (as a PDF). Once that's done, keep Lower right again. Once you save your tax documents to Google Drive, you can add comments, search by keyword, and of course share via email or directly to your tax app on Android.

Now that tax season is here, you may have questions. To learn more, check out all the tax breaks for homeowners and find out who can claim the child tax credit this year.

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