The IRS goes geek

The Internal Revenue Service may have a reputation as a lumbering bureaucracy, but the government agency is embracing smartphones. Yes, you can now check on the status of your refund using your smartphone. You can also get filing tips from the free app, IRS2Go.

The app works on Apple's iPhone and Google's Android operating system.

"This new smartphone app reflects our commitment to modernizing the agency," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman in a statement. "As technology evolves and younger taxpayers get their information in new ways, we will keep innovating to make it easy for all taxpayers to access helpful information."

For all you number crunchers and data lovers, the Employee Benefits Research Institute has some of the best figures around on worker retirement and healthcare. The databases are broad enough to be truly useful and the organization is careful in drawing out the implications of their research. (Unlike many so-called Washington-based think tanks, EBRI doesn't write the conclusion first and then cherry pick the data to fit its world view.)

It has just published a detailed report on the impact of the financial and economic cfrisis on worker retirements. *A Post-Crisis Assessment of Retirement Income Adequacy for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers *makes for sober reading.

The paper tries to answer two questions:

1) What percentage of U.S. households became "at risk" of insufficient retirement income as a result of the financial market and real estate crisis in 2008 and 2009? 2) Of those who are at risk, what additional savings do they need to make each year until retirement age to make up for their losses from the crisis?

The bottom line: No matter how you slice the data, workers need to save more in the aftermath of the crisis in order to improve the odds of a decent retirement.

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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