Looking for tax information on the go? The Internal Revenue Service has released the update to its smartphone application for the new tax season. The app, which has been described by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen as a “convenient self-service tool” makes it easy for taxpayers to access personal tax information nearly 24 hours a day/seven days a week. The app, says IRS, reflect a “commitment to help you get the information you need — whenever you need it, wherever you are.”
Follows are the highlights:
You can request your tax return or tax account transcript online. It’s a great feature if you need to check on any outstanding liabilities or other tax issues. Rather than calling 1.800.908.9946 or submitting a form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript, you can request your tax account or tax return transcript directly from IRS2Go. Unlike the web service, however, the transcript details aren’t available immediately: they will be delivered by mail to your address of record. Expect the information to arrive in about 5 to 10 days after your request.
It’s worth noting that the tax transcript feature is not meant as a substitute for finding out the status of your tax refund. There’s a separate feature for that (keep reading).
If you’re still looking for free tax preparation services, you can find an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and/or the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) site near you. Simply enter your zip code and select a mileage range. You’ll be given a range of options with distance, hours, dates, languages and appointment details (if required) for each. To find the location that works for you, just click on “directions” and the maps app on your phone will help you get where you need to go.
Of course, I know what you really care about: refund status. You can check on the status of your tax refund with a few clicks. Simply enter your Social Security number (masked and encrypted for security purposes), select your filing status and the amount of your anticipated refund. A status tracker is included so you can see where your tax return is in the process. If you filed your return electronically, you can check your refund status within 24 hours after IRS indicates receipt of your return. If you file a paper tax return, you’ll need to wait longer – usually about four weeks but for 2015, expect at least an additional week. There’s no need to check over and over throughout the day: records are only updated by IRS once per day, usually overnight.
If you were thinking of holding on to your old version of the app to check on your refund this season, you’re out of luck. As of January 2015, versions prior to 4.2 (including last year’s 4.0) will no longer be able to check on your refund status. You’ll have to upgrade to this latest version 4.2 to make that happen.
You can also connect with IRS on social media with a few clicks in the app. You can follow the IRS on Twitter, @IRSnews or @IRSenEspanol or sign up for email updates right from your phone. You can also watch videos on from the IRS YouTube channel.
There’s also a link to IRS phone numbers and hours of operation but you’ll probably only visit the “Contact Us” page if you’re absolutely desperate: the IRS only anticipates answering about half of their calls this year.
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