U.S. Internal Revenue Service debuts IRS2Go App for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad on Apple’s App Store

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service today unveiled IRS2Go, its first iPhone app that lets taxpayers check on their status of their tax refund and obtain helpful tax information.

“This new smart phone app reflects our commitment to modernizing the agency and engaging taxpayers where they want when they want it,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, in the press release. “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 IRS2Go iPhone app gives people a convenient way of checking on their federal refund. It also gives people a quick way of obtaining easy-to-understand tax tips.

Apple users can download the free IRS2Go application by visiting the Apple App Store.

“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.”

The mobile app, among a handful in the federal government, offers a number of safe and secure ways to help taxpayers. Features of the first release of the IRS2Go app include:

• Get Your Refund Status
– Taxpayers can check the status of their federal refund through the new phone app with a few basic pieces of information. First, taxpayers enter a Social Security number, which is masked and encrypted for security purposes. Next, taxpayers pick the filing status they used on their tax return. Finally, taxpayers enter the amount of the refund they expect from their 2010 tax return.
– For people who e-file, the refund function of the phone app will work within about 72 hours after taxpayers receive an e-mail acknowledgement saying the IRS received their tax return.
– For people filing paper tax returns, longer processing times mean they will need to wait three to four weeks before they can check their refund status.
– About 70 percent of the 142 million individual tax returns were filed electronically last year.

• Get Tax Updates
– Phone app users enter their e-mail address to automatically get daily tax tips. Tax Tips are simple, straightforward tips and reminders to help with tax planning and preparation. Tax Tips are issued daily during the tax filing season and periodically during the rest of the year. The plain English updates cover topics such as free tax help, child tax credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit, education credits and other topics.

• Follow the IRS
– Taxpayers can sign up to follow the IRS Twitter news feed, @IRSnews. IRSnews provides the latest federal tax news and information for taxpayers. The IRSnews tweets provide easy-to-use information, including tax law changes and important IRS programs.

IRS2Go is the latest IRS effort to provide information to taxpayers beyond traditional channels. The IRS also uses tools such as YouTube and Twitter to share the latest information on tax changes, initiatives, products and services through social media channels.

More info and download link for IRS2Go for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad via Apple’s App Store here.

For this year, at least, a version of IRS2Go is also available to Android settlers as they desperately await the arrival of iPhone on their carrier.

16 Comments

  1. Puzzling, one of the 3 “benefit pillars” of this app is “Get Tax Updates”, which is described as: “Phone app users enter their e-mail address to automatically get daily tax tips. Tax Tips are…”

    i.e. 1/3rd of the reason to download and install a piece of software on my phone is so I can enter my e-mail address? Once? To subscribe to a daily newsletter?

    Sounds like “Tax Tips” are an (arguably) useful offering of the IRS, but as far as this app goes – the feature is “Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter” = why the hell do I need to install a permanent app for that?

  2. What’s up with the audit tracker? Whoa, it apparently uses location services to lock in your location, with a status update on legal proceedings and a jail-time countdown widget. Neat!

  3. Ironic. When I left the IRS a few years ago they were still refusing to sanction the use of any browser but Internet Explorer, procurements for Apple Macs – even to replace older Macs – were being blocked, and Oracle on Solaris was being phased out in favor of SQL Server and .Net on Windows Server. iPhones? Forget it. Executives used Blackberrys.

    Maybe they’re opening up to Apple solutions because so many taxpayers use them, but I wonder if much has changed internally.

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