New IRS app gives taxpayers helpful tool

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By M.J. Subiria Arauz


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently revealed its first smartphone application for iPhone and Android users.

The free IRS2Go application allows taxpayers to verify their tax-refund status, and acquire helpful tax information, said Mark Green, spokesman in Georgia for the IRS.

"This new smart phone app reflects our commitment to modernizing the agency and engaging taxpayers where they want, when they want it," added Doug Shulman, commissioner of the IRS. "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 offers numerous safe and secure options to help taxpayers, said Green.

It is a convenient way for people to check on their federal funding, he added. The user is able to keep up on the status of his, or her, tax refund by providing some personal information. Taxpayers must enter their social security number, which will be masked and encrypted when entered, he said.

Then, taxpayers choose the filing status they used on their tax return. Entering the amount of the expected refund from the 2010 tax return is the final step to the process, he explained.

Those, who e-file, should wait about 72 hours after receiving an e-mail from the IRS acknowledging receipt, before checking their status on the app, said Green. People who file paper returns must wait three to four weeks before checking their refund status on the app.

The app also provides taxpayers with quick access to tax tips that are easy to understand, according to Green. He said updates are in plain English and cover areas such as free tax help, child tax credits, education credits and the Earned Income Tax Credit -- a credit for people who earn low-to-moderate incomes.

"Tax tips are simple, straightforward tips and reminders to help with tax planning and preparation," Green said.

The tips are distributed daily during the 2011 tax-filing season, which ends on April 18, and issued periodically during the rest of the year, he added.

"In Atlanta -- the second-most-wired city in the nation last year -- the IRS2Go phone app will be a welcome enhancement to taxpayers," said Green.

To download the app, he said, iPhone users should visit the Apps for iPhone application, while Android users should visit the Android Market app on their phones.

"This phone app is a first step for us," said IRS Commissioner Shulman. "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."