IRS mobile app gains 245,000 users in two months

IRS2Go allows taxpayers to track when refund check is coming

The Internal Revenue Service has signed up 245,000 users in two months for its IRS2Go mobile phone tax refund tracking application that operates on iPhone and Android smart phones, officials announced.

IRS2Go allows users to find out the status of their anticipated tax refund by filling in their Social Security number, filing status and estimated refund amount. The information is encrypted to protect their privacy. They can also use IRS2Go to subscribe to e-mail tax updates or the IRS Twitter feed.

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IRS keeps tabs on refund status through app for iPhones, Androids

The IRS developed the mobile application to be proactive in increasing service to taxpayers and in taking advantage of new media platforms, said Terry Lemons, communications director for the IRS.

IRS2Go launched on Jan. 15 and has signed up 110,000 iPhone users and 135,000 Android users, he said.

“We have gotten a very good response,” Lemons said at the General Services Administration’s Government Web and New Media Conference on March 17. “The reviews have been very positive.”

The tax agency decided to develop a mobile application to provide additional service to people who want to know the status of their tax refund, specifically whether or not the tax form was accepted and the approximate refund issuing date. About 75 percent of the people who file taxes receive refunds and the majority who use the IRS website and phone services are calling to ask "Where is my refund?" Lemons said.

For people who e-file, the mobile application will function about 72 hours after the IRS sends the taxpayer an e-mail acknowledging the tax return was received. Paper filers need to wait three to four weeks before checking their refund status via IRS2Go.

IRS2Go was developed in-house and cost less than $50,000, Lemons added. About one third of the cost was for security features, said Beth Krappweis, IT specialist at the IRS, who also spoke at the event.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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