Wednesday, March 26, 2014

There's an App for That

Managing the Internal Revenue Service is no easy job. It takes a lot of automation to process over two hundred million tax returns per year. And, while the Service still stores master tax records on computers commissioned during the Johnson administration (Lyndon, at least, not Andrew!), the IRS still spends hundreds of millions per year to take advantage of the latest information technology.
The geeks who manage the IRS's computers do a great job with the limited resources Congress gives them. But they want to be like the cool kids in Silicon Valley, too. So they've created an app, called IRS2GO, that you can download to your iPhone or Android device. You can use the IRS app to track your refund, find free tax return preparers, access your tax records, and even connect with the IRS on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, and Facebook.
Those are all great functions, of course. But we got to thinking . . . what sort of things would you really want an IRS app to do for you? We thought maybe these would be even more popular:
  • The Refund Redirector: Knowing when your refund will show up is great. But the real fun is knowing where you're going to spend it. The Refund Redirector would aggregate prices from hundreds of online shopping sites to give you the best possible deal, then send your refund directly to the store. Planning to upgrade your family room to the latest 50-inch television? Let the Refund Redirector tell you where to buy it!
  • Flappy Tax: Flappy Bird is the latest handheld gaming sensation, with 50 million downloads. The only problem is, it's too hard to get that stupid bird through that stupid opening between those stupid pipes! Our version would let you thread a helpless taxpayer through a maze of tiny loopholes. But if you think that flappy bird has it tough, wait 'till you see our red tape!
  • Red Light/Green Light: This updated version of the classic children's party game would use an easy-to-understand traffic light to tell you if your deductions will fly with the IRS. Want to write off the mileage to and from the orthodontist for tightening your kid's braces? Green light! Thinking about writing off a bottle of Dom Perignon to celebrate your latest business deal? Yellow light for the "lavish and extraordinary" expense. Hoping the IRS "won't notice" that Swiss bank account you opened last year? Stop!
  • YelpTax: Apps like TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon, and Yelp let you post restaurant reviews before you even get the bill. Our version would let you review auditors and other IRS staff. How much more pleasant do you think an audit would be if the examiner knew you could rate him from one to five stars on punctuality, friendliness, service, and atmosphere? (If only they could say "we know you have a choice in auditors today . . . .")
We love how technology automates so many tasks to make our days easier and more productive. We love how the Internet puts a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. But there's still no substitute for good, old-fashioned expertise and experience. And you can't get that from an app. That's where we come in. We can give you the plan you need to pay less tax. We can help you implement that plan without having to tap it all out on a tiny screen. So call us when you're ready for the most up-to-date tax-saving strategies and concepts. And remember, winning the tax game is more fun than anything you can do on your phone!

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