Ready to file your federal income tax return? I know: it’s still early in the season. But if you owe taxes, don’t forget to pay what you owe by Tax Day. And you don’t have to file and pay at the same time: You can file at any time so long as you pay your taxes in full by April 15, 2020. Here are several options for paying your tax bill this year:

1. Pay by cash. It used to be the case that you couldn’t pay your federal income tax bill in cash. Now, however, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers a way for you to pay your taxes using PayNearMe.

To make a payment, you’ll need to visit the Official Payments page and follow the instructions. The IRS will then send you a code that you can take to a participating retailer where the clerk will scan the code so that you can make your payment. The whole process generally takes five to seven business days. There is a fee ($3.99) to use the PayNearMe system, and the largest payment you can make is $1,000.

2. Pay by check or money order. You can pay by check or money order even if you e-file. To pay what you owe, make your check or money order payable to “United States Treasury” for the full amount due. Write “2019 Form 1040” on the memo line together with your Social Security Number (if you are filing a joint return, write the SSN shown first on your tax return on the memo line). Make sure that your name, address, daytime phone number are on the check; that info may already be printed on your check. 

Include payment together with Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher (downloads as a PDF) and mail the payment along with your form 1040-V to the address that corresponds to the state where you live:

Don’t write a check that you don’t have the funds to cover. You’re not fooling anybody, and there is a penalty for writing a bad check to the IRS ($25 or 2% of the check, whichever is more). It’s not worth it.

And remember that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) no longer accepts checks over $100 million.

3. Direct Pay. You can pay your taxes directly from your checking or savings account. To make a payment, click on over to the Direct Pay page. You’ll choose the tax form (1), the reason for payment (2) and the tax year (3):

You’ll need to verify your identity by providing information about your filing status from your last return as well as your name, SSN, birth date, and address. Enter the payment amount, payment date, and bank account information. Click through to the end, and you’re done. The IRS doesn’t keep your bank account information after payments are made, and there is no fee for using the system.

You can schedule a payment or pay the same day, but IRS Direct Pay won’t accept more than two payments within 24 hours. And if you owe bunches, note that each payment must be less than $10 million.

(Note: Direct Pay will be unavailable from approximately 8:00 p.m. ET, on Thursday, March 5, 2020, until approximately 4:00 a.m. ET, on Friday, March 6, 2020, due to planned maintenance.)

4. Pay by wire. Consider a same-day wire from your bank or financial institution. Contact your bank or financial institution – not the IRS – for details, including fees and deadlines. To make a payment, download and complete the Same-Day Payment Worksheet to take with you to make the wire.

For information on making international wire transfers, check out this prior post.

5. Pay by Electronic Funds Withdrawal. Electronic Funds Withdrawal (EFW) is an option that you can use to pay by direct debit from your bank account. The IRS doesn’t charge a fee to use EFW, but your financial institution might (check first to avoid a last-minute panic). You’ll need to know your bank routing and account numbers (more on those here). For more information about EFW, click here.

6. Pay by Debit or Credit Card. You can pay what you owe by debit or credit card. Most of the approved IRS payment processors accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

Generally, there’s no limit on the amount you can pay, but you are restricted to just two credit card payments in one year for the same individual tax bill. High-balance payments of more than $100,000 may require coordination with your credit card or debit card provider.

Third-party credit and debit card providers may charge a fee, which may vary by provider, card type, and payment amount. Applicable fees for debit cards range from $2.00 to $3.95, while fees for credit cards range from 1.87% to 1.99% (minimum fees apply). The convenience fee paid to your provider will be listed as “Tax Payment Convenience Fee” or something similar, while the tax payment will show “United States Treasury Tax Payment.”

Keep in mind that different rules (and fees) apply for integrated IRS e-file and e-pay service providers.

7. Use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) to pay by phone or online. To make a payment using EFTPS by phone, call 1.800.555.3453. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1.800.733.4829. To make a payment using EFTPS online, log in, and follow the prompts. You can schedule your payment by 8 p.m. EST at least one calendar day in advance of the due date. It’s worth noting that your tax payment is due even if the website is not available, so plan ahead.

You must be enrolled to use EFTPS. After your information is validated with the IRS, you’ll receive a personal identification number (PIN) in the mail in five to seven business days. Between the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service, you’re going to need to be patient.

Also, as scammers ramp up their efforts to steal your personal and financial information, keep in mind that EFTPS will never contact you via e-mail. If you receive an e-mail that claims to be from the EFTPS tax payment service or from a sender you do not recognize that claims to have information about EFTPS payments, forward the e-mail to phishing@irs.gov or call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.

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