Do you ever worry the post office will lose your tax payment check? Or worse that the tax administration receives your check but does not apply it to your account? These nightmare scenarios regularly happen. For that reason, more taxpayers today make their tax payments electronically with the security and confidence that the payment will be correctly processed by the administration.

1.    How to check your tax balance online

If you are not sure whether you owe tax, you can view your balance online on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. The tool will allow you to consult your payoff amount, the balance for each tax year and up to 18 months of payment history.

To access the online tool:

You can also request an account transcript to check your tax balance. The Account Transcript only covers a single tax year, so if you need several years of info, you will need to submit a separate request for each year.

To request an account transcript:

2.    Pay your taxes with Direct Pay

Introduced in 2015, Direct Pay is a free online tool that allows individuals to securely pay income taxes and make estimated tax payments or extension payments directly from a checking or savings account without any fees.
To use Direct Pay, you will need to have an old tax return handy, one filed within the past six years, to help the IRS verify your identity. You enter how much you want to pay, the payment type (annual tax bill, estimated payment, etc.) and the tax period to which the payment applies. Finally, you give the IRS your bank information. Note that the IRS won’t keep your bank information once the payment is processed so you will have to reenter all this data each time you want to make a payment.  Once you made the payment you can easily keep track of it with the confirmation number or by signing up for email notifications. You can make a same day payment or schedule a payment for up to 30 days in advance.

To use Direct Pay:

Tip: Holders of International bank accounts - If your bank account is held outside the US, you can still use Direct pay as long as your bank is an affiliate of a US bank and has a 9-digit routing number, as Direct Pay does not accept SWIFT codes.

3.    Pay your taxes by credit or debit card

Paying with a card is an IRS payment option, but it's an expensive one. While a credit card can be a convenient source for cash, make sure you understand all the ways it will cost you.
The IRS has entered into partnerships with private-sector businesses to make tax e-payments as easy and appealing as possible. IRS-approved plastic and digital processors are listed on the IRS website (link below). American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa are among the credit cards accepted for payments.  Each company has its own fee schedule, with credit card fees up to 2% of your tax bill and debit card fees up to $3.95 per transaction. Additional “convenience fees” are tacked on in some cases. You can pay by internet, phone, or mobile device your taxes using a credit or debit card.

To pay by Credit card:

4.    Pay your taxes on EFTPS.GOV

Another way to avoid fees when paying your taxes is by using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). It is a free service available year-round.  You must, however, enroll and get a personal identification number and password to use it. This activation can take up to 7 days.
To register, you will need a bank account, social security number or employer identification number, and a mailing address. You must use the mailing address that the IRS has on file, as they will mail you a PIN in about a week.  Once you are enrolled, it is a fast system:  you can make a tax payment in minutes. EFTPS is also a secure system: online payments require three unique pieces of information for authentication: an employer identification number (EIN) or social security number (SSN); a personal identification number (PIN); and an Internet password. With EFTPS you can schedule a current day tax payment, a future payment (up to 365 days), a recurring payment as well as payment for prior, current and future tax years.

To sign up for EFTPS:

5.    Pay your taxes by Electronic Fund Withdrawal

Electronic Funds Withdrawal (EFW) is an integrated e-file/e-pay option offered only when filing your taxes through a tax professional.
More information of EFW:

Karine Bauer,EA is an e-file provider who is authorized by the IRS to transmit returns electronically. Transmitting your tax return with Kbauer financials LLC will ensure a smooth and efficient electronic transmission of your tax return and tax payment.  

Karine Bauer, EA is an authorized e-filer:

6.    Pay your taxes from outside the US with a wire

Payments of U.S. tax must be remitted to the IRS in U.S. dollars. International taxpayers who do not have a U.S. bank account may transfer funds from their foreign bank account directly to the IRS for payment of their individual or business tax liabilities. Although this method of payment is available to anyone with a foreign bank account it can be costly.  

Instructions for an International wire transfer -

As always, the views contained in this article are not tax or legal advice and are not a substitute for consulting with a professional. Contact Karine Bauer EA at Kbauer Financials LLC for advice on your specific tax situation. Karine Bauer, EA is an Enrolled Agent licensed by the Treasury Department with unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. She is an experienced tax professional with more than 20 years of international experience.

Updated 12/10/2017