What is the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) is a payment option provided by the United States Treasury for people who need to pay taxes. People can use the system online or over the phone to make and schedule tax payments, using a personal identifying number (PIN). There are no charges to use EFTPS for paying taxes and the service is available to anyone who wishes to sign up. Accountants and tax preparers can maintain accounts for processing tax payments for their clients as well.

Man climbing a rope
Man climbing a rope

This system was established by government mandate, as part of a series of reforms to force government agencies to take advantage of the Internet for offering services in new ways to citizens. Systems like the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System are designed to make it easier for people to complete business with the government while reducing paperwork and subsequently limiting bureaucracy. People can still pay taxes via mail if they choose not to use the system.

People can access the system by signing up with their social security numbers or taxpayer identification numbers and verifying information, including an address and bank contact information. A PIN is sent by postal mail and the taxpayer can use this to enter the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System at any time day or night; the system is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for convenience.

Once in the system, people can make immediate or scheduled payments, as well as updating their accounts with new information. Businesses have the ability to schedule tax payments 120 days in advance, while individuals can schedule payments 365 days in advance. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accepts estimated tax payments, as well as taxes already due through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, along with other types of taxes that individuals may be required to pay.

Taxpayers are warned by the IRS that unavailability of the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System as a result of system errors, power outages, and other problems is not accepted as an excuse for paying taxes late. Logging in well in advance of major deadlines can reduce the risk of not being able to access the system due to overloading, and scheduling payments in advance can be used to provide proof that a payment was scheduled on time. If people do have trouble accessing the system to make a payment, they can mail in a tax payment to their local IRS field office, including documentation about what the payment is for; as long as the mail is postmarked on or before the due date, the payment is considered on time.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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