I dunno about you but it *almost* feels like the IRS is catching on to this whole techno-trend. First, e-filing. Then YouTube and Twitter. Now, apps. Yep, the IRS has announced the availability of its first smartphone app, IRS2Go.
Of course, you knew I’d have to try the app out (I’m the girl with the IRS Code on her iPod, remember?). And I’m gonna say, it’s really cool. As in much cooler than I expected (no offense, IRS). Here’s what you need to know:
First, it’s free. Yep, free. I’m all about the free apps. You can download it from the Apple App store or from your Droid Marketplace. It takes seconds.
Second, it’s prettier than I thought it would be. Not uber attractive but not bad. There are interesting fonts and photos, which isn’t exactly the hallmark of the IRS web site. It looks like someone put a little thought into it. I know it shouldn’t be all about the aesthetic but let’s face it, it matters.
Next, the primary pitch for the app is that it allows you to check on the status of your refund right from your phone. It’s easy. You’ll need your Social Security number, filing status for the year and refund amount to use it. It’s just like the “Where’s My Refund?” tool online.
You can also sign up to receive updates or follow the IRS on twitter using the app (smart thinking, IRS). Kind of handy.
But the best part is the “contacts” section. Seriously useful. Phone numbers and hours for the various tax help lines are included, along with links that allow you to call with the touch of a button. You can even follow the links to find a taxpayer assistance center near you.
Is any of this ground-breaking technology? Of course not. But it’s awfully forward thinking for a government agency which has traditionally, well, er, let’s just say not been associated with being forward thinking. Even IRS Commissioner Dough Shulman recognizes there’s some room for improvement, saying about the app:
This phone app is a first step for us. 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.
That sounds awfully encouraging. I’m not expecting an IRS version of Angry Birds but I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next… What about you?