Lucy Lazarony is a freelance personal finance writer. Her article...Read More
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If you find yourself owing taxes after your tax filing is done, you may be wondering how you’re going to pay them. While there are several options—from savings to getting a loan—many people wonder if it’s possible to put their tax bill on a credit card. Maybe even someone else’s credit card. Learn how paying for your taxes with a credit card works and how to choose the best method for your situation.
Yes, it’s possible to pay your taxes with a credit card. Several IRS-approved payment processors, including Pay1040.com, PayUSAtax.com, and OfficialPayments.com, allow credit card payments for tax bills. Tax preparers sometimes link to these processors so you can use them to pay your tax bill once the tax professional is done filing your taxes.
Can You Pay Your Taxes with Someone Else’s Credit Card?
As long as you’re authorized to use someone else’s credit card to pay your taxes, you can do so. The tax processors don’t require that the credit card name match the filer, so if you have a family member or friend who’s willing to let you use their credit card to pay your taxes, you can do so.
Can You Pay Someone Else’s Taxes with Your Credit Card?
You can also use your credit card to pay someone else’s tax bill, but that person’s Social Security number must be used when the payment is made to the account.
Can You Pay Your Taxes with Someone Else’s Bank Account?
It’s possible to pay your taxes with a payment directly from your bank account. You can do this through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. You’ll need your information to verify your identity as well as the routing number and account number for the account you’re paying from. As long as the account owner allows it, you can use someone else’s bank account to pay your taxes, and vice versa.
How Tax Payments Appear on Your Card Statement
When you pay your tax bill with a credit card, the transaction is listed as United States Treasury Tax Payment or something similar on your credit card statement. And the processing fee you pay the payment processor is usually listed as a Tax Payment Convenience Fee or something similar.
How Long Does It Take for the IRS to Post Your Payment?
Your payment is processed immediately—at least by the next business day—and the payment date is the date the payment is authorized. While the payment is processed almost immediately, it can still take five to seven days for the IRS to post the payment to your tax account.
Can You Use More Than One Card for a Tax Payment?
You can use two different credit cards to make your payment. You do need to complete two separate transactions, though—one for each card. You’ll also receive a different confirmation number for each transaction. If you need to make a partial payment on your credit card rather than a full amount, you can do this as well.
How to Pay Taxes with a Credit Card
Here are the basic steps for paying your taxes with a credit card:
File your taxes, either through a tax service or on your own, by the deadline. Keep an eye on the IRS website as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed some deadlines in the past.
Go to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System website.
Select the Pay by Debit or Credit Card option.
Select your preferred processor, making sure to note the fees.
Follow the prompts to verify your identity and make the payment.
If you use a tax preparation service you may be directed to pay your taxes through the software, but the process should be generally the same. You’ll be made aware of any fees or processing charges, and you’ll then enter in your info and the credit card numbers to make the payment. These services are also a good idea if you’re not sure what deductions and exemptions you qualify for or if you want to make sure you’re getting the biggest refund possible.
Pros and Cons of Paying Your Taxes with a Credit Card
Before you pay your taxes—or someone else’s—with a credit card, it’s important to be aware of both the benefits and drawbacks.
One of the biggest pros of paying by credit card is that it’s convenient and easy. If you happen to have a credit card that offers frequent flyer miles or pays cash back, you might also benefit from charging a transaction like an income tax bill, potentially earning yourself points toward a free vacation or your next cashback bonus.
Depending on how much you owe in taxes and how long it takes you to pay the IRS, you may save money—in the form of avoiding IRS late penalties and interest fees—by paying the bill immediately with a credit card. That’s assuming those fees and penalties don’t outpace the APR on your credit card, of course.
All payment processors charge a processing fee to let you pay your taxes with a credit card. For the 2021 tax season, processing fees range from 1.87% to 1.98% of your tax bill or a minimum fee of $2.50 to $2.69, whichever is higher. ACI Payments, Inc., charges 1.98% or a $2.50 flat fee. PayUSAtax.com charges 1.96% or a minimum $2.69 fee. And Pay1040 charges 1.87% or a minimum $2.50 fee. Tax preparation software usually charges similar fees.
If you pay with your credit card and don’t pay off your credit card bill the month after you pay, you’ll pay interest. This means you can end up paying interest twice what you paid for the processing fee in added interest charges on your credit card bill. The numbers can be even higher if you pay only the minimum balance due each month.
Choose the Best Credit Card to Pay Your Taxes
If it takes you a few months or more to pay off the credit card balance after you use it to charge your tax bill, make sure you choose the best credit card available to you. Choose your credit card with the lowest interest rate. Using a card with a 0% introductory interest rate and paying your full tax bill before the introductory period ends is ideal, because this allows you to avoid paying interest on your tax bill.
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You may be tempted to reach for a rewards credit card to pay your tax bill, because the rewards, such as a cashback offer, will help to offset the processing fee you pay. Before you pull out a rewards card to pay your tax bill, though, take a close look at the card’s interest rate and calculate how long it’ll take to pay the bill in full. Carrying a big balance on a rewards card with a high interest rate may not be worth the rewards you earn.
Will Paying My Taxes with a Credit Card Affect My Credit Score?
Paying your tax bill with a credit card can affect your credit score depending on your tax bill compared to your total available credit limit. Using a credit card to pay your taxes can result in a higher credit utilization rate, which can negatively impact your credit score. The ideal limit for your credit utilization ratio is under 30% of your available credit. If you go above these limits, it could negatively affect your score.
Whether you choose to use a credit card to pay your taxes or not, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your credit report. Services like ExtraCredit® can do all the legwork for you so you always know what your credit score is and how your financial decisions are impacting it.
If your tax bill is so large that you can’t pay it off quickly or you don’t have a credit card with a low or 0% APR, there are better alternatives. Choosing another option to pay your tax bill is a good idea if it helps you avoid paying interest on a credit card balance on top of an already sizable tax bill.
The IRS has payment plans for taxpayers who meet certain criteria. An installment can reduce, or eliminate altogether, penalties and interest. It’s worth your time to consider this option, especially if you’re already financially strapped. Learn more on the IRS payment plan and installment agreement page.
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