How to pay your taxes: What to do if you don't have the money or need an extension
You've only got days left to pay that tax bill you've been dodging since you first completed your federal returns.
The Internal Revenue Service must receive your payment by the April 15 tax deadline – or April 17 for Maine and Massachusetts resident due to local holidays – even if you filed for an extension. If you're late, the agency can charge a penalty and interest.
There are a handful of ways to pay what you owe if you have enough money in the bank to foot it. But if the bill is too much for your budget, the IRS provides three options to manage the payments.
Here's what you need to know.
Pay your tax bill now
Direct from bank account: You can have funds automatically withdrawn from a bank account when you e-file and choose the e-pay option provided by the tax preparation software or through a tax professional.
Or, you can pay online using the IRS "Direct Pay" service, which taps from your checking or savings account at no cost. You can track your payment through email notification or using the "Look Up a Payment" tool.
By debit or credit card: You can pay online or by phone using one of three processors that work with the IRS; WorldPay US, Link2GovCorporation or Official Payments. These processors charge a service fee that may be tax-deductible.
By cash: You can pay using cash at a participating retail store like 7-Eleven. There's a $3.99 fee per payment. In general, it takes five to seven business days to process your payment, so give yourself enough time before the April 15 deadline to make the payment.
By check, money order or cashier's check: Make it payable to the U.S. Treasury and include the following information on the check, money order or cashier's check:
Related tax form or notice number Don't staple or paperclip your check to your voucher or tax return. Mail your payment to the address on the notice or in the instructions.
By wire transfer: Some banks can do a same-day wire for your tax payment. You need to complete the Same-Day Taxpayer Worksheet. Ask your bank or other financial institution for a cut-off time, fees and other details.
Pay your tax bill later
If the amount you owe is too much for you to afford all at once, you have three options from the IRS.
Installment plan: The IRS offers two installment plans that you can apply for online: a short-term payment plan (less than 120 days) or a long-term one (more than 120 days). Which plan you qualify for depends on how much you owe and your specific tax situation. Fees and interest will be added to your bill if you use a payment plan.
Settle for smaller amount: The IRS also allows you to offer a compromise to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount. The agency considers your ability to pay, income, expenses and assets to determine if you qualify.
You must be current on your tax filings and not in an open bankruptcy proceeding. The IRS encourages you to consider all other payment options before submitting an offer in compromise.
Delay payment: You can request a temporary delay in payment from the IRS. The agency may require you to fill out a Collection Information Statement form and provide information on your personal finances, such as monthly income and expenses. You will be charged penalties and interest on your tax debt until you pay the full amount.