Your smartphone is probably full of fun apps, but we have one more app to add to help you deal with a painful task: your taxes. Did you know that the IRS has a free smartphone app to help taxpayers handle basic tax-related functions? They do, and it has been in existence since 2011.
The IRS2Go mobile app can be downloaded from Amazon, Google Play, or the Apple App Store. The latest version, IRS2Go 5.0, is available for both iOS and Android operating systems on virtually all mobile devices.
Why would you want to be able to access IRS information on your smartphone? You can perform a variety of useful tasks and seek tax information anywhere that your mobile phone has access to a signal. Here are a few examples of the available IRS services.
- Check Your Refund – Once the IRS has acknowledged receipt of your e-filed return, you can start checking the status of your refund 24 hours after that acknowledgement. (For paper returns, you must wait four weeks after the mailing date to check access). You need three bits of information to check on your refund through the app: your Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), filing status, and the exact amount of your refund. Your Social Security Number is masked and encrypted to maintain security.
- Make Payments – All of your standard payment options may be accessed through the IRS2Go app. You can set up IRS Direct Pay, which allows you to have payments made as direct withdrawals from your bank account. For other payments via debit or credit card, you can access one of the IRS-approved payment processors.
- Find Tax Preparation Assistance – Two IRS programs offer in-person assistance to elderly and low-income taxpayers: Volunteers Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE). The IRS2Go app can help you find the nearest access to these resources by entering your zip code and a mileage range that covers your traveling abilities. Directions to the facilities are also available.
Previous versions of IRS2Go allowed you to request a tax return transcript in case you could not find last year's return, but that feature has been removed from version 5.0. However, you can still order IRS transcripts on the IRS website through the "Get Transcript" tool. Transcripts will be sent via the U.S. Postal Service to your address on record — so make sure that the IRS has your current address. As of this writing, transcripts are not available electronically thanks to last year's data breach problem.
The IRS website maintains a high level of security, however, keep in mind that to maintain that security you need to keep wireless connections secure. It's inconvenient to have your Facebook account hacked, but it is even far more harmful to allow thieves access to your IRS account (and therefore your refund) inadvertently. Avoid insecure wireless connections, whether they are public or private.
The IRS is trying to make your tax preparation and filing experience as convenient as possible, and the IRS2Go app is an important part of their overall strategy. Download the app and check out the capabilities prior to preparing your taxes so that you can feel comfortable with using the app before the tax-filing deadline approaches. Feel free to give the IRS feedback about your experience with IRS2Go so that they can make further improvements in version 6.0.
You may not need mobile smartphone access to IRS services, but it’s good to know it’s there. Especially because you paid for it!