Paying your taxes is never easy, especially if you owe a large sum of money to the IRS. In these cases, you may be tempted to pay your tax debt using your credit card. But can you pay your taxes with a credit card?
In short, yes, you can. The IRS, through a third-party vendor, accepts many types of credit cards, including VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, STAR, PayPal, NYCE, and AFFN. But just because the IRS allows credit card payments doesn’t mean this is your best option. It’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of using your credit card to pay your tax bill.
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How to Pay with a Credit Card
While you can pay your tax debt using your credit card, the IRS doesn’t accept credit card payments directly. Instead, these payments are processed through one of the three approved third-party vendors, payUSAtax, Pay1040, and ACI Payments, Inc. You can make these payments online or over the phone. The third-party vendors then transfer the funds to the IRS on your behalf.
You can use multiple credit cards to make a payment. However, some vendors may limit the number of cards you can use.
Does H&R Block Accept Credit Cards?
Many tax preparation companies, including H&R Block and TaxAct, also allow you to make credit card payments to cover your tax debts and tax preparation fees. However, these companies may charge extra processing fees for these services. It’s important to ask about fees before using these services.
If you’re thinking about using your credit card to pay your taxes, you may be eligible for a variety of benefits. Below is a look at the top benefits of paying your taxes with a credit card.
Convenient and Safe
Paying your taxes with a credit card can be more convenient than paying by cash, check or wire transfer. In fact, using your credit card may be the easiest option available. Additionally, credit cards come with fraud liability coverage that’s typically better than bank debit cards. This factor can give you peace of mind knowing your online payment is safe.
Nearly all credit cards offer some types of rewards, including cash back rewards and travel rewards. Cash back rewards often range from 1% to 2% of spending. While this may seem insignificant, even when your tax payment is large, it can make a big difference. For example, if you’re making a $5,000 tax payment, you may receive cash back rewards between $50 and $100.
Travel rewards can be even more substantial. For instance, you might earn a free night at a luxury hotel, a bump to a higher class on a flight or other special offers. These options often require high reward point balances. Using your credit card to pay your tax balance may be enough to push you over this limit.
Some credit cards also offer an introductory 0% interest program that gives you a set amount of time to pay off your balance before interest starts. If you can pay your tax bill off before this introductory period ends, you could save some money on interest.
Many credit cards offer special sign-on bonuses that reward you with a large number of bonus points. The trick to obtaining these points is that you have to make a set amount of purchases within the introductory period. For some families, spending this amount is virtually impossible. Applying your tax payment to your credit card may help you achieve this total and earn these extra points.
Avoid Interest from IRS
If you fail to pay your taxes on time, you’ll likely face late fees and interest charges. The IRS assesses a 0.5% penalty per month for all late payments. If you enter into an installment agreement with the IRS, you may be able to reduce this penalty to 0.25% per month. For instance, if you have an unpaid tax bill of $5,000, you could pay an extra $25 in penalties per month.
Additionally, the interest rate for unpaid taxes is 6% for 2022. This interest will start to accrue from day one. The combination of penalties and interest rates could be substantial. Depending on the size of your tax bill and the amount of time it takes to repay your bill, it may be more affordable to use your credit card than to face these added fees.
Before you pay your tax bill using a credit card, it’s crucial that you understand the potential drawbacks of choosing this option. Below is a look at the several disadvantages of paying your federal taxes with a credit card.
The most direct potential drawback of paying IRS taxes with a credit card is the processing fees you may incur. These payment fees vary between processing companies and are based on the amount of your tax debt. They range from $2.20 to $198.00.
|payUSAtax||Pay1040||ACI Payments, Inc.|
|Payment Amount||Debit Fee||Credit Fee||Debit Fee||Credit Fee||Debit Fee||Credit Fee|
You may incur additional fees if you hire a tax preparer to complete and file your taxes. Unless you have no other alternative, comparing these processing fees with the benefits you can receive from using your credit card is recommended. If the fees are higher than the benefits, you may want to consider using another form of payment.
Using your credit card to pay your taxes can also impact your credit score. Depending on your specific situation, adding a large tax bill to your credit card can significantly impact your credit utilization ratio. This ratio accounts for 30% of your overall credit score.
If you can pay off this credit card debt quickly, it may not have a big impact on your long-term credit score. However, if it could take you several months to pay off this balance, you may have trouble securing additional credit. It’s important to understand these ramifications before using your credit card to pay your taxes.
Unless you can pay off your credit card balance by the due date, your account will accumulate interest. Many credit cards have high interest rates, which only increases your overall tax debt payment. If you go over your credit limit, you may also incur penalties or risk having your credit card company close your account.
If possible, choose a credit card with the lowest interest rates to reduce your payment. When determining if you should use your credit card to pay your taxes, be sure to factor in interest payments.
If you can’t afford to pay your tax bill, the last thing you want to do is ignore the problem. Instead, you may want to have a professional tax preparer check your tax return. While many people do their own taxes online, a professional can ensure you get all the eligible tax credits and deductions. A professional tax preparer can also provide you with tax tips for your specific tax bracket to help you reduce your future tax liability.
If you still can’t afford to pay your taxes, you should consider entering into an installment agreement with the IRS. While you’ll still owe tax penalties and interest, you can reduce this burden. For example, you can lower your monthly tax penalty from 0.5% to 0.25%.
While you can pay your taxes with a credit card, it’s not always the best option. If your credit card offers high cash back rewards or special perks and benefits, it may be worth using your credit card to pay your taxes. Be sure to calculate all fees and interest payments when making this decision.
Looking for more help with your taxes? Check out Credit.com’s tax center.
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