How to use your phone to scan your important tax documents

Tax Day is right around the corner, and if you haven’t filed yet, it’s time to quickly get all your documents in order.

The best way to save, store or upload your tax documents, especially if you have paper copies, is by digitizing them.

You don’t have a scanner? Not a problem! You can easily scan all your documents right from your smartphone. Here’s how.

Scanning tax documents from your iPhone or iPad

There are a few ways to digitize your tax documents from an iPhone or iPad. The simplest way is to simply open your camera app and take photos of each document. Make sure you place your documents on a well-lit, flat surface and snap a picture of each one. This method will be a bit time consuming, since the files will be stored as images (not PDFs) and you will need to manually crop and organize each one.

However, our preferred method is using the Files app, which will automatically recognize, scan and crop your documents and help you organize them for easy sharing at a later date. Here’s how to get started:

    1. Open the Files app on your iPhone or iPad
    2. Tap the Browse tab (likely in the bottom corner)
    3. Tap the three dots in the top right corner and choose Scan Documents
    4. Position your document on a well-lit flat surface and hover your phone’s camera over the document. The app should automatically recognize and scan it. The file will be placed in your scanned documents
    5. Continue scanning documents until you are done. Click Save.
    6. Choose the folder you would like to save your documents in, or click the three dots at the top of your screen to create a new folder. Click Save to save your documents.

Scanning tax documents from your Android device

Scanning documents on Android devices can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some models have a built-in scanning function in the Camera app, while others do not. However, you will likely use Google Drive on your Android to store your documents, photos and other important information, so here’s how to use Google Drive to scan your tax documents, which should work across all Android models.

  1. Open the Google Drive app. (If you don’t have Google Drive installed on your device, download and install it from Google Play here.)
  2. Tap the “+” button, then tap Scan.
  3. Position your document on a well-lit flat surface and hover your phone’s camera over the document, then tap the shutter button. You can now edit, crop or rotate the image.
  4. To add more documents, tap the + button.
  5. When you’re finished scanning, click Save. Now give your document a name and organize your files in Google Drive.