IRS adds new features to mobile tax filing app, sees ROI

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Taxpayers can now check the status of their federal income tax refund and request their tax return with the updated IRS2Go mobile application.

With tax day just around the corner, the IRS has added new features to its IRS2Go mobile application, which provides users with tax tips and tools to navigate key IRS services.

Taxpayers can now check the status of their federal income tax refund using their Apple or Android mobile device. They can access the information by entering their Social Security number, filing status and the amount of their anticipated refund from their 2013 tax return.

Users who filed a return electronically can check their refund status within 24 hours after the return is received. The update also allows users to request their tax return or account transcript, which they will receive in the mail.

In addition to IRS2Go, the IRS is moving rapidly to adopt electronic and social media services to assist taxpayers and lower the cost overhead of traditional customer services. Currently, the IRS has channels up and going for taxpayer tips and information on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

The federal government has been successful in getting a return on these investments in IRS electronic services, according to a recent report by Accenture. Of 147.6 million tax returns that were filed in September 2012, 113.8 million (77 percent) were done online, it said.

The IRS2Go smartphone app in particular was a key reason for the agency’s success with e-services, according to Accenture, which put the value of potentially fraudulent refunds avoided by using the app at $4.2 billion.

The IRS first launched IRS2Go in January 2011. Within two months, 110,000 iPhone users and 135,000 Android users had downloaded the app. Total cost of the in-house development: $50,000, spent mostly for security features.

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