Checking Status of Your Tax Refund? There's an App for That

tax guy - tax appThis week, the Internal Revenue Service rolled out IRS2Go, the first smartphone application created by the agency.

IRS Commissioner Shulman said of it: "This new smartphone app reflects our commitment to modernizing the agency and engaging taxpayers where they want when they want it. As technology evolves and younger taxpayers get their information in new ways, we will keep innovating to make it easy for all taxpayers to access helpful information."

The app, which is available for free at the Apple App Store and the Android Marketplace, allows taxpayers to try several features formerly available only on the IRS website. Those features include:
  1. "Where's My Refund?" Taxpayers have been able to check the status of their federal income tax refund online for the last few years. Now, with IRS2Go, taxpayers can check the status of their federal income tax refund on the go. The app uses the same information as the Web-based version: Social Security number, filing status used on the tax return and the amount of the expected refund. If you e-file your return, the refund app will generally be usable within 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your return. If you file your return using paper, you'll need to wait longer: about three to four weeks.
  2. Sign Up For Tax Updates. If you need help with your taxes in the form of tips and reminders to help with tax planning and preparation, you can sign up on the app to receive Tax Tips from the IRS via email. Through tax season, you'll receive about one tip per day from the IRS; after tax season, expect them more infrequently.
  3. Follow the IRS on Twitter. Since you can tweet from your smartphone, why not follow the IRS on Twitter? You can sign up to follow the IRS Twitter news feed, @IRSnews through the app.
  4. Contact the IRS. The app offers a list of frequently called IRS numbers, together with hours of operation. The app also links to helpful information on the IRS website.
The IRS plans to roll out more features in the future. "This phone app is a first step for us," Shulman said. "We will look for additional ways to expand and refine our use of smartphones and other new technologies to help meet the needs of taxpayers."

If I had to guess, I would think the IRS is considering a future app that would allow you to file your return or make payments directly from your smartphone. The technology certainly exists: TurboTax released a consumer version of a filing app earlier this month.

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