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File taxes free at IRS website, track refund status with app

The government's free IRS2Go app provides the most

The government's free IRS2Go app provides the most precise dates of when your online return is received, approved and sent. Credit: irs.gov

If it wasn’t easy enough to work your taxes with software on your desktop computer or laptop in recent years, or online, things have become even simpler. Not only is this year’s deadline later, April 18, but you can file your Form 1040 with an app and even track your refund’s status.

Although the major tax-help companies have refund apps that provide general information, the government’s free IRS2Go app offers the most precise dates of when your online return is received, approved and sent.

The IRS says most online filers cut their time in half and get refunds within three weeks. Just a week after e-filing this year’s return, I learned my federal and state refunds had been approved and that the federal money would be deposited into my bank account within three days; it was done in two.

Tracking a state refund is more involved, requiring registering at tax.ny.gov. And the state contradicted my IRS2Go app about approval, telling me my state return needed to be reviewed. The site also says that 90 percent of New Yorkers can file their state forms for free at tax.ny.gov.

Major employers’ W-2 forms can be downloaded into an online tax program, but with new apps, you can take a picture of your W-2 to input the numbers into your return. Use the highly rated TurboTax app, for example, to do your return and seamlessly switch to a desktop or tablet, and back again. TurboTax’s app can provide updates on an Apple watch, too. It needs at least iOS 8.0, and Google Play also has new tax apps.

APP IRS2Go

DESCRIPTION Follow the progress of your federal tax refund.

TARGET AUDIENCE Those who can’t wait to line their pockets with some cash.

BOTTOM LINE Another reason to file taxes online.

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