Why You Should Follow the IRS on Social Media
The Internal Revenue Service just wants to be like everyone else – accessible on Facebook or Twitter, available to chat with you about whatever’s on your mind. The IRS has jumped into the social media scene in an effort to make tax time as painless for you as possible. The agency wants to be your friend and offers many solid reasons why you should accept the invitation.
Advantages of Following the IRS
Friending the IRS on social media keeps you up-to-date on tax rules and laws, which often change without much warning. Imagine that you prepare your own tax returns and you’re totally unaware that you qualify for a new $2,000 refundable credit. If you don’t claim it, you must either amend your return to do so or you’ll leave that money on the table.
Or, you’ll erroneously try to claim a credit for which eligibility rules have changed, so instead of getting a refund check you receive a stern notice from the IRS. They’re like a new friend filling you in on the latest news. Following the IRS on social media can take some of the guesswork out of filing your taxes. Even if you pay a professional to prepare your tax return, it’s good to have a working knowledge of all that you’re entitled to.
What the IRS Can’t Do on Social Media
The IRS cautions that it can’t offer personal help on its social media sites. Its presence there isn’t a substitute for “live” assistance – it only provides public information. If you have a question about your specific return, you’re stuck with making a phone call, using regular mail or taking a ride to your nearest IRS office. Never post your Social Security number or any other personal information on IRS social media pages.
Where You Can Find the IRS
You can find the IRS in all the usual social media hotspots, including Facebook and Tumblr. The information provided on these two sites is similar, but Facebook’s version is more comprehensive. The IRS' Twitter presence offers several accounts to answer questions: @IRSnews keeps you up to speed on current tax changes and announcements; the Taxpayer Advocate Service stands by ready to help at @YourVoiceAtIRS; and @IRSenEspanol offers tweets in Spanish. The IRS also posts tax tip videos on YouTube.
Connect on Your Phone
The IRS has a free mobile app if you’re always on the go and don’t have the time or inclination to check in with traditional social media sites. IRS2Go provides the same videos you can catch on YouTube, but also lets you pay your taxes, check the status of your refund and sign up for email tax tips and alerts. You can also sign up for IRS emails online at IRS.gov. IRS2Go is available for both Android and Apple devices.