Can I Pay My Tax Debt Online?

Allison Blackham
Expert Contributor
Last Updated:
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  • The IRS accepts tax payments in several forms, including online through a browser or a mobile app, electronic funds withdrawal, check, money order, and cashier’s check.
  • If you cannot pay your full tax debt, you might qualify for an installment plan or the offer in compromise tax relief program offered through the IRS.
  • Tax debt can quickly accrue interest and penalties, so take action immediately to pay the full amount, set up a payment plan, or apply for an offer in compromise prior to the tax filing deadline of April 15.

When you owe taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), one of the first questions you might have is how you can pay it off. The IRS accepts payments in a variety of ways, including online, electronic funds withdrawal, check, or money order. You have several options if you choose to pay your tax debt online.

Online Payments

It’s easy to pay your tax debt online through any of the methods the IRS accepts. The first is IRS Direct Pay, which is free, secure, and easy. This option allows you to schedule a payment in advance so you don’t miss the deadline. The IRS will withdraw the funds directly from your savings or checking account when you input the information. You will also receive instant confirmation from IRS Direct Pay after you submit or schedule your payment.

If you want to pay through your mobile device, you can use IRS2Go, an app that allows you to pay through the IRS Direct Pay system. IRS2Go is free on the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Amazon. When you download the app, you’ll need to input your personal information, including your Social Security number, so the funds go to your account.

Paying with a debit or credit card online is an option, too, although it’s not free. This method adds a processing fee, which gets paid directly to the payment processor, not the IRS. The fee varies based on the service provider, so you won’t know exactly how much it will add to your tax total until you enter your card information.

The IRS also uses the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, which accepts payments by phone or online. This secure government site requires you to authenticate your personal information, including your taxpayer identification number (Social Security number for individuals), your personal identification number, and your online password. Through this site, you can schedule a tax payment up to 365 days in advance, and you can make changes to the scheduled payments up to two business days before the processing date.

Can I Pay My Tax Debt Online?

Electronic Funds Withdrawal

If you choose to file your federal tax return electronically, you can submit a payment at the same time. This process uses electronic funds withdrawal to automatically withdraw the amount you owe from your bank account. You can either pay on the day you file or choose a date to have the funds withdrawn, as long as that date is on or before the tax filing deadline of April 15. This payment option does not have any additional fees associated with it.

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Check or Money Order

The final option for paying your taxes is by check or money order. If you choose this option, make sure it’s made out to the U.S. Treasury. On the front of the payment, include your personal information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number

You will also need to note the tax year and related notice number or tax form. Do not send cash.

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No matter which method you choose, you must pay any taxes you owe by the deadline, which is typically April 15. If this date falls on a holiday or weekend, the IRS will push it to the next business day.

What if I Can’t Pay My Tax Debt?

If you cannot pay the full amount you owe the IRS, you have options available. The first is to set up an installment payment plan, which allows you to pay back the taxes over time. To do so, you’ll need to qualify and apply for a payment plan. You can apply online, as long as you meet the qualifications:

  • You owe $50,000 or less in combined interest, tax, and penalties, and you have filed all your required returns (you might qualify for a long-term payment plan).
  • You owe less than $100,000 in combined interest, tax, and penalties (you might qualify for a short-term payment plan).

Fees might apply to payment plans, depending on the terms and conditions of the plan you set up, as well as how much tax debt you owe. However, if you cannot pay the full amount, it’s a much better option to set up a payment plan rather than ignore the tax debt. The IRS has many tools at its disposal to collect on owed taxes, including:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Federal tax refund withholding
  • Placing liens and levies on your property and assets

If you owe more than you can afford to pay, you might also qualify for the IRS debt relief program. This option, called an offer in compromise, allows you to make an offer to the IRS to settle for less than the amount you owe. Not all taxpayers qualify for the program, so make sure you review the requirements and restrictions before you apply. You will have to pay a filing fee and complete several detailed documents, so it’s best to know that you qualify before spending the time and money to apply.

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Whether you choose to pay online, by phone, or through the mail, it’s critical you pay your taxes on time to avoid penalties and interest. If you are struggling to pay back a tax debt, Solvable has resources to help you get your finances back on track. We work with third parties to provide tax resources, debt relief assistance, and other helpful tools to those who have heavy tax burdens they can’t afford to pay.

 

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Allison Blackham
Expert Contributor
Last Updated:

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