taxes

Paying the Piper

If you owe the IRS, there are several ways to settle your bill.

We talk a lot about the 100 million or so Americans who get tax refunds every spring, admonishing you to adjust your payroll withholding so that less is taken out of your paychecks every payday.

But what about the 35 million or so who actually have to pay extra tax with their returns? If you're among that minority, how should you handle things?

You could, of course, pay the old fashioned way by writing a check. If you do, make it out to the U.S. Treasury. Congress decided a few years ago that because so many folks think IRS is a dirty word, you shouldn't have to write it on your checks. (Also, it's easy for a crook to change IRS to MRS and add a name to make it look like the check is made out to a married woman.) If you send a check, the IRS would like you to include a 1040-V form to help the agency process your payment more efficiently.

If you are among the growing army of taxpayers who file electronically, you have the option of simply telling the IRS to dip into your bank account for the amount due. If you choose the direct debit option, you can file as soon as your return is done and tell the government not to take the money until April 15. That's not quite as much "float" as if you drop the check in the mail at the midnight deadline, but the convenience should count for something.

Another choice is available whether you file electronically or on paper: You can charge your bill to a credit card. We think this is usually a bad idea because you have to pay a "convenience fee" to pay your taxes. We bet you're paying enough already. If you owe more than you can afford to pay, you should consider using the IRS installment plan. More about that later.

Most Popular

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2022 vs. 2021?
tax brackets

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2022 vs. 2021?

Depending on your taxable income, you can end up in one of seven different federal income tax brackets – each with its own marginal tax rate.
September 20, 2022
Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
I’ve Inherited a Lot of Money. Now What?
estate planning

I’ve Inherited a Lot of Money. Now What?

First, put all major decisions on hold. A financial planner can help you come up with a plan that addresses your goals, dreams and needs.
September 25, 2022

Recommended

10 Tax Planning Tips for the End of the Year
taxes

10 Tax Planning Tips for the End of the Year

Tax planning between now and the end of the year can have a significant impact on how much tax you have to pay next April.
September 27, 2022
Got Crypto? The IRS Really Wants to Know
taxes

Got Crypto? The IRS Really Wants to Know

Recent crypto news shows that the IRS remains focused on digital assets—including cryptocurrency tax enforcement.
September 26, 2022
Taxes on Unemployment Benefits: A State-by-State Guide
state tax

Taxes on Unemployment Benefits: A State-by-State Guide

Don't be surprised by an unexpected state tax bill on your unemployment benefits. Know where unemployment compensation is taxable and where it isn't.
September 23, 2022
Taxes in Retirement: How All 50 States Tax Retirees
Tax Breaks

Taxes in Retirement: How All 50 States Tax Retirees

We rated every state, plus the District of Columbia, on how retirees are taxed. Some of the results might surprise you.
September 23, 2022