We’re right in the thick of tax season, and one of the cool things about technology is that it is incredibly easy to file and pay your taxes online with EFTPS or other tools. One of the other tools available for paying your taxes is a credit card. I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s usually a bad idea to pay taxes with a credit card. There are two main reasons: transaction fees, which average right around 2% or slightly higher, and the possibility of paying interest on the amount you charged. That said, using a credit card to pay your taxes may be a good option under certain circumstances.
Let’s take a look at your options if you want to pay your taxes with a credit card and avoid a financial headache. We’ll take a look at fees, when it might be a good idea, and some good cards to use.
Can You Pay Your Taxes With a Credit Card?
Yes you can. It turns out there are two IRS approved companies that are able to process credit card payments over the phone or on-line. Most companies charge a “convenience fee” to pay your tax bill with your credit card.
How Much Does it Cost to Pay Taxes with a Credit Card?
The IRS only authorizes a few companies to accept credit card transactions to pay your taxes. But processing credit cards isn’t free and the IRS allows these companies to charge a “Convenience Fee” to process your credit card payment. Here is what it will cost you to pay you taxes with your credit card (source: IRS).
- RBS WorldPay, Inc: 1.95%
- Link2Gov Corporation: 2.35%
- Official Payments Corporation: 2.35%
- TurboTax: 2.35%
- FileYourTaxes.com: 3.93%
Note: These companies charge a minimum processing fee of close to $4, and may also charge a fee for using your debit card to pay your taxes. Debit card processing fees are a flat rate for many of these companies. Always run the numbers before blindly swiping your card.
Does it Make Financial Sense to Pay Your Taxes with a Credit Card?
I’m not sure what your reward points are worth, but I doubt mine are worth 2.49% on my business card (at least not on this type of purchase). Since I owe $1,100 on my taxes this year, it would cost me $27.39 to pay my taxes. Keep in mind these fees are on top of tax software or accountant fees, and any transaction or interest charges if not paid in full. For me, it doesn’t make sense (¢ents) to use my rewards card.
While it doesn’t make sense in my situation, there can be benefits to paying your taxes with a credit card. If you have a credit card that offers 3-5% cash back, then this might not be a bad move if you have the funds to pay your taxes in full when the bill comes. It also frees up cash flow and allows you to defer payment for another month or so.
Some people may also find value in using a credit card so they can meet a spending tier to earn rewards points, a cash bonus, free airline tickets or other credit cards rewards. Finally, some people may find that a 0% introductory period or balance transfer period may make this an attractive option. These can give taxpayers a very low interest loan if they can’t afford to make the payment in full – this is much less expensive than paying penalties and fees associated with late payments!
Pros and Cons of Using a Credit Card for Paying Taxes
You can pay your taxes for free by check or by making an ACH transfer is free, so you have less expensive options available. The other potential downfall to using a credit card for paying taxes is the interest you may owe interest if you don’t pay your card in full.
That said, there are a few times when using a credit card might be a good idea:
- When your credit card rewards return more than the transaction costs
- If it can help you avoid paying IRS late fees and penalties
- You need the cash flow for your personal or business finances
- You can pay the credit card in full, or in a reasonable amount of time
- When your interest rate is minimal or zero
- When you can transfer the balance to a balance transfer credit card for a 0% interest rate.
Featured Credit Cards for Paying Taxes
Paying your taxes with a credit card may qualify you to earn cash back, points, or miles, which might be good if you have favorite cash back credit card or travel credit card. In some cases the rewards will be enough to offset any transaction fees. Under some circumstances, the convenience fee may be tax deductible because it is a cost associated with paying your taxes (check with your tax professional).
Here are some credit cards which might take the sting out of paying your taxes with a credit card.
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