Social media has become a top method of keeping up with friends, families, breaking news, celebrity lives….and tax changes.
Tax law changes often and quickly and can affect many unsuspecting taxpayers. Oftentimes, these changes can put hundreds or thousands of dollars back into consumers’ pockets if they learn about them in advance and strategize about using the change to their advantage. Wouldn’t you rather know right now about a change that will affect your tax return rather than learn about the change on April 15?
While the IRS uses social media tools to share public information, it won’t answer personal tax questions. In a statement released by the IRS, it states, “The IRS uses social media tools to share public information, not to answer personal tax or account questions. You should never post your Social Security number or any other confidential information on social media sites.”
You can subscribe to many of the IRS social media channels to keep up to date. Here’s what the agency makes available:
Twitter. Tweets from the IRS include tax-related tips, news for tax professionals and tax law changes and extensions. Follow the IRS twitter feed @IRSnews and @IRSenEspanol. Tax professionals can follow the IRS as well, @IRStaxpros. Each tweet is normally accompanied by a feed that provides expanded information on the topic indicated.
IRS2Go. IRS2Go is a free app where you can check your refund status, get tax updates or follow the IRS on Twitter. You can download it free from the iTunes app store or the Google Play Store. This is the only IRS app that actually provides information specific to your account.
YouTube. The agency’s YouTube Channels offer short videos on many tax topics. Videos are available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language. Oftentimes, it’s easier to digest tax information when it is presented in video format rather than on the written page in difficult legalese.
Tumblr. The IRS Tumblr blog provides the most up-to-date tax news. The blog also provides videos as well as links to lengthier versions of the subject matter
Facebook. The IRS Return Preparer Facebook page has useful posts for tax professionals. Webinar announcements are also posted here. Though designed for tax pros, savvy taxpayers may find much of the webinar content useful.
Podcasts. These short IRS podcasts provide useful tips on many tax topics. The audio files are available from the Multimedia Center page on IRS.gov. The long menu of topics arranged in alphabetical order make topic selection simple.
There are more than 75,000 pages of tax code. Navigating the code can be extremely difficult. The legalese with which it’s written can be intimidating for the nonprofessional. After all, almost all tax law is subject to interpretation and falls into the gray area chasm.
Bonnie Lee is an enrolled agent admitted to practice and representing taxpayers in all 50 states at all levels within the Internal Revenue Service. She is the owner of Taxpertise in Sonoma, Calif., and the author of Entrepreneur Press book, “Taxpertise, The Complete Book of Dirty Little Secrets and Hidden Deductions for Small Business that the IRS Doesn't Want You to Know.” Her new e-book Taxpertise for the Creative Mind Murder, Mayem, Romance, Comedy and Tax Tips for Artists of all Kinds is available at all major booksellers. Follow Bonnie Lee on Twitter and on Facebook.