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Uncle Sam upgrades his IRS2Go tax app, plus a look at other mobile tax apps

Last year the IRS jumped into the digital tax pool with IRS2Go. This filing season, Uncle Sam has upgraded the app for iPhone and Android.

The IRS venture into mobile devices is just one part of the growing tax app world. And a look at those options for filers on the go is today's Daily Tax Tip.

IRS2Go 2.0: Let's start with the latest smartphone tax options from the official federal tax office.

  • Watch Us. The IRS videos provide short features on a variety of tax topics. The channel ranks as the fourth most viewed channel among more than 125 federal government YouTube channels. IRS also has YouTube channels available in other languages and American Sign Language.
  • Get the Latest News. As the name indicates, you can get IRS news releases delivered to your phones as they are available.  
  • Get My Tax Record. Now you can order a tax return transcript with the IRS2Go app. The transcript will be delivered via the U.S. Postal Service to your address of record.

These new 2012 filing season mobile options are in addition to the app's original offerings:

  • Get Your Refund Status. Check the status of your federal tax refund through the phone app with a few basic pieces of information. An updated refund status is available about three days after the IRS acknowledges receipt of an e-filed return, or four weeks after mailing a paper return.
  • Get Tax Updates. Enter your email address via the phone app to receive IRS tips and reminders to help with tax planning and preparation. (Of course, this is just an add-on to your daily checking of Don't Mess With Taxes' tax tips!)
  • Follow the IRS. Sign up to follow the IRS on Twitter: @IRSnews.

IRS2Go now also offers waya to contact several agency divisions in case you want to use your smartphones to actually make a call.

A tap on your phone's screen will automatically dial the IRS' individual tax help line, the number for business taxpayers, the help line for exempt organizations and the line to report a tax-related identity theft issue (as well as a separate link to more info on how to guard against ID theft at tax time).

All numbers are toll-free so don't worry about using up your minutes.

Smartphone tax appsSince the IRS released the first version of IRS2Go in 2011, the app has been downloaded by more than 350,000 smartphone owners.

Lots of other tax apps, too: Tax software companies were quick to jump on the tax app train and have been running strong and steady for years. Below is a look at some of the more popular smartphone tax apps.

Intuit's TurboTax started with SnapTax. The free app for iPhone and Android lets 1040EZ taxpayers take a photo of their W-2 and other applicable income statements and file from their phones.

The tax software giant has since added TurboTax for iPad.

And there's also TurboTax's TaxCaster, now also available on the iPad, to give you an idea of your tax refund.

H&R Block Tax Central mobile app lets you get answers to questions, estimate your taxes, track your refund status, browse a tax glossary and get tax news. Of course, you also can find the nearest Block office and/or tax professional.

Jackson Hewitt's JH Mobile app lets you estimate your tax refund, check refund status and find a JH office.

TaxACT Central provides checklists, answers to common tax questions, refund status checking, tax tips and calendars.

TaxSlayer's app lets mobile phone users create an account or log in to an existing account, after which you can access the My Deductions feature. There's also a refund calculator option.

All the apps mentioned above are free, but you might be asked to pay for added services so pay attention before clicking.

Tax FAQs answers 50 commonly asked filing questions. It, too, is free, but its companions, iTaxable and iDeductible, do require a fee to download.

Just a sampling: These are just a few of the tax apps out there that I personally have looked at on my spanking new iPhone.

Yes, I finally gave in and got one. (That's it in the photo above.) It also prompted me -- shameless self-promotion alert -- to tweak the ol' blog so that if you type in dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com on your mobile device, you'll get a more text friendly version for your smaller screen.

There also are lots of tax news apps, as well as general personal finance apps that include a tax component. Heck, if you're a full-blown tax geek (and have a generous data plan), you can download the Internal Revenue Code on your smartphone.

But for this tax tip post, I opted to look at those that focus on filing returns.

If you have a tax app that you really like, please share it with us by leaving a comment below. Or if you have a problem with a tax app, we'd like to hear that, too.

I'm looking for real, honest, unpaid reviews, not marketing shilling promos. Thanks for helping me and DMWT readers get our tax info on the go.

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