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The Internal Revenue Service catches a lot of flak. Some of it is justified. Some of it is primarily political.

But when the tax agency does a good job, it deserves to get credit. And the IRS is one of the best federal agencies in utilizing social media.

In addition to its own pretty darn accessible website, the IRS and its employees are out there on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Tumblr. And it’s even gone mobile.

The IRS2Go app, free for iPhone and Android devices and available in Spanish as well as English, actually debuted in 2011. It’s been upgraded again for the 2014 filing season with some new features.

Refund checking on the go

The biggie, checking tax refund status, is still there. As with the original online refund tracking system, you’ll need to enter your Social Security number, select your filing status and enter the amount of your anticipated refund from your 2013 tax return. Worried about security? The IRS says your tax ID number will be masked and encrypted.

If you e-file your return, you can use IRS2Go to check your refund status within 24 hours after the IRS has received it. If you file a paper 1040, you will need to wait about four weeks to check your refund status.

Tax records, too

With the upgraded app, you can request your tax return or account transcript using your smartphone. Don’t worry about your device being jammed with all your tax data. The IRS will snail mail you your tax records within a few days of getting your mobile request.

Find free tax help

Free tax filing help is available for taxpayers who make under a certain amount or who are older. These programs, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, and Tax Counseling for the Elderly, or TCE, are nationwide and IRS2Go can help you discover if one is near you.

Enter your ZIP code and select a mileage range. Once you find a VITA or TCE site, you can click on the directions button to get a map to the free tax help spot.

Tax news always at hand

And if you’re a real tax geek who wants the IRS official word to supplement Bankrate’s tax guidance, you can use the app to follow the IRS on social media, watch videos, sign up for email updates or contact the agency.

Have you used the IRS app before? What do you think of it?

More tax info from Bankrate

Want the latest news on taxes, tax reform prospects, filing deadlines, Internal Revenue Service alerts and tax-saving tips? Subscribe to Bankrate’s free Daily Tax Tip newsletter, our Weekly Tax Tip newsletter or, if you’re a true tax geek, both!

You also can follow me on Twitter: @taxtweet.

Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book “The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes” and co-author of the e-book “Future Millionaires’ Guidebook.”

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