It might take slightly longer for taxpayers to get their tax refunds from the IRS this year, but at least they can do a better job of tracking the progress on their smartphones.
Earlier in the week, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned a divided Congress to settle its differences over the federal debt ceiling, fearing that a further impasse could delay refunds from a cash-strapped government. Those sentiments were echoed by all the Democratic members on the House Ways and Means Committee in a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).
In the meantime, the IRS is carrying on business as usual. As part of an ongoing program to improve assistance to taxpayers, it announced several key updates to the IRS2Go mobile app for the 2014 tax-fling season. New version 4.0 features a way to track the status of a refund, as well as other valuable tax return-related information for both taxpayers and practitioners.
“The new version of IRS2Go provides taxpayers another way to quickly get information and help around the clock,” said recently appointed IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a prepared statement. “The IRS is focused on providing taxpayers with convenient self-service tools like IRS2Go, which provides details on everything from tax refunds to free tax assistance.”
With the new refund status tracker, you can follow a tax return every step of the way through the refund process. After you enter your Social Security number, which will be masked and encrypted for security purposes, you simply enter your tax-filing status and expected refund amount. The IRS can provide an update twenty-four hours after receiving an e-filed return or four weeks for a paper return. Because IRS computers update the information overnight, there’s no reason to check the status more than once a day.
The free mobile app offers several other features of interest. For instance, a user can request a tax return transcript from IRS2Go. The transcript will be delivered via US Postal Service to the user’s listed address.
Finally, the IRS says taxpayers may use the app to locate the nearest IRS taxpayer assistance center (TAC). However, the IRS recently disclosed that it won’t be providing free tax preparation at its own walk-in TACs this year. So your tax-preparation practice might benefit from a late rush of filers who have previously relied on the IRS for help.
IRS2Go has been downloaded about 3.5 million times since its inception in 2011. It’s available to iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners through the iTunes App Store, while Android users can visit Google Play to download it for free.
Taxpayers may also interact with the IRS by following the IRS on Twitter, @IRSnews or @IRSenEspanol; watching helpful videos on YouTube; signing up for e-mail updates; or by using the “Contact Us” feature. For more information on IRS2Go, products, and services through social media channels and other media products, visit www.irs.gov.
About Ken Berry
Ken Berry, Esq., is a nationally known writer and editor specializing in tax, financial, and legal matters. During his long career, he has served as managing editor of a publisher of content-based marketing tools and vice president of an online continuing education company. As a freelance writer, Ken has authored thousands of articles for a wide variety of newsletters, magazines, and other periodicals.