What are the Different Ways I can Make my Income Tax Payment?

Brendan McGuigan

As 15 April nears, thoughts in the United States inevitably turn to making an income tax payment. Although never a pleasant task, in its ongoing efforts to make taxes more accessible and less painful, the Internal Revenue Service now has many possible ways to make an income tax payment, some of which can be done in just a few minutes. All of these different options have the same ultimate result, with the IRS receiving your payment any way you send it, but some may be more convenient for certain individuals than others.

Money orders can be used to pay income tax.
Money orders can be used to pay income tax.

The IRS is glad to accept a credit card income tax payment, allowing individuals to make their payment seamlessly with any major credit card. There are two official vendors that can process your income tax payment, both of which are equally valid in the eyes of the IRS. The first, Official Payments Corporation, accepts credit card payments by phone at 1-800-272-9829, or through their website. The second, Link2Gov, accepts credit card payments by phone at 1-800-729-1040, or through their official website.

People may file their taxes online through programs like TurboTax.
People may file their taxes online through programs like TurboTax.

In both cases timely payments can be made up until midnight of 15 April, although extra time should be given in case of difficulties. Phone lines and websites are often barraged on the day of 15 April, as millions of Americans log on or call to get their payments in. If you find yourself trying to get on as the clock is ticking down, you may wish you had made your income tax payment a day or two early. And while the IRS is generally somewhat sympathetic to people who are late with their payment because of technical difficulties, do not expect them to necessarily be lenient.

Tax form information should be included with a payment to the IRS.
Tax form information should be included with a payment to the IRS.

Also be aware that while the IRS does accept these credit card payments, if you find yourself without the funds to pay your taxes, using a credit card may not be your best option. While using a debit card to do this transaction is simply a convenient way to make the payment, using a credit card itself can saddle you with a chunk of debt you may not soon be able to pay off. The IRS offers assistance for people unable to make their payment in one lump sum, and it may be worth contacting them about setting up a payment plan, rather than taking on the high interest rates associated with a credit card.

Payments can be made by mail, online, or through tax preparation software programs.
Payments can be made by mail, online, or through tax preparation software programs.

Your income tax payment can also be made by drawing directly from your bank account. This is a secure, easy, and effective way to make your income tax payment, and can be set up through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), either through their website or by phone at 1-800-555-4477. Many software suites that help you fill out your taxes will also offer this option, as well as a credit card option, processing it directly through them.

Checks can be mailed to pay income taxes.
Checks can be mailed to pay income taxes.

Of course, the IRS also accepts payments by mail. Payments can be sent either in the form of check, money order, or cashier’s check. Payments should be made out to the United States Treasury, and somewhere on the payment should be included the social security number or employee identification number the payment is being made for, as well as the tax period and tax form information. Lastly, cash payments can be made, but cannot be sent by mail. Cash payments need to be delivered in person to a local IRS office.

There are a number of tax preparation options for filing and paying taxes online.
There are a number of tax preparation options for filing and paying taxes online.

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