The Internal Revenue Code is more than 75,000 pages long and can be confusing even for the more advanced tax professionals and attorneys. But because taxes consume such a large percentage of income, it’s wise to be up to date on code changes and the basics that apply to your individual situation. Getting this information can be a difficult experience. It’s usually best to rely on the opinion of a tax professional.
Your needs may be basic. If you are not self-employed, and instead are a wage earner possibly taking advantage of itemized deductions, you may need only certain pieces of information from the IRS. In this case, you can easily access this information via a simple app on your phone.
In January of 2011 the IRS came out with a Mobile App called IRS2GO. At that time it had two basic functions: one was to enable you to track the status of your tax refund, the other was to sign up for daily tax tips that would be funneled to your email account.
Today IRS2GO has expanded to include a few other functions that you may find useful. One of the app selections is to “Stay Connected.” You can select various ways to accomplish this: follow the IRS on Twitter, watch YouTube programs with tax tips, sign up for Email Updates or obtain IRS phone numbers for various customer service issues.
You may now request information about your individual tax returns via this app going back four years. A short screen allows you to fill in the vital information such as tax year, Social Security number, date of birth, and current address. The IRS will mail you the information you request. Remember, the IRS does not contact taxpayers via email. They cannot simply attach data to an email and send it to you. This is especially crucial for protection against identity theft so don’t get upset that it appears to be behind the times and uses only snail mail.
The types of records you can request includes a tax account transcript. According to the IRS, “Tax Account Transcripts provide any adjustments either you or we made after you filed your return. This transcript shows basic data, including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income.” It will include any balances owing as well as penalties and interest charged to your account.
You may also obtain a tax return transcript. This is defined by the IRS as “Tax Return Transcripts show most line items from your tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. This transcript does not reflect any changes you, your representative or the IRS made after you filed your return.”
Also available on the app is a locater for free tax services. You can use your GPS location or type in your zip code to find free tax services near you.
For services not available on the app, visit www.irs.gov. On the IRS website you can obtain a transcript of third party documents submitted to your account. Let’s say for example that you need to file your 2011 income tax return. You don’t have your W2, various 1099s and other documents that are needed to prepare a complete and accurate income tax return. Well, guess what? You can order up all the information that was provided to the IRS by third party reporters. Again, the results will be sent to you via snail mail.