One of the only downsides to spring for most Americans is facing the mid-April day of doom; tax day. Everyone knows that the deadline is coming but for some unexplainable reason, it doesn’t begin to seem urgent until the calendar turns to that first day of April.
Then the ritual begins for many. There are a few days of gathering receipts, forms and documents and then the final burst of motivation that gets you to sit down and actually begin the process of completing the arduous forms.
You have a good idea what the result is going to be, but you now need to determine how much you are going to owe the IRS this time. Once you have that exact number in front of you, your only remaining task is to decide if you will pay taxes to IRS by check or some other means.
Option 1: The Old Standard – Use A Check
In the past, filing your taxes was a long and winding paper trail that could consume several days or even weeks of your time if you were not organized and prepared for the task. Before technology stepped in and greatly simplified the process, you could spend hours driving around in search of the tax booklet and forms that you thought you would need to complete your taxes. Public libraries set up table after table of forms, all stacked by form number. You grabbed only the basics and hoped that was all you needed or you ended up walking away with a stack of forms as thick as a phonebook. The entire process was about sheets of paper that would be mailed to the IRS along with your check if you owed any additional taxes. Now the process is much more streamlined and you have many more options when deciding the method of payment that you would like to use.
4 Electronic Options
The most cost-effective way to pay your taxes electronically is by using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. This allows you to pay online or over the phone. All you need to do is set up an EFTPS account ahead of time so that you can get a personal identification number or password. The only caveat is that the payment must be scheduled by 8 pm the day before you want your payment to process. If you have waited too long or don’t have an account set up then you can also use other forms of electronic payment such as using your credit card or debit card. Both of these options could have some fees associated with the transaction from your bank or lender so you will want to check that out. The one possible benefit of paying the IRS with your credit card could be in the form of a credit card reward. But be sure that the reward you are getting is of greater value than the fees you are paying. The other option to paying with a credit card is that you have the option to pay over time to your lender. This is a good option if you don’t have the money to cover the amount that you owe. If you don’t want to divulge credit card information, then you can also send a same-day wire payment to the treasury department. With any form of payment, be certain to include your name, address and the tax period that the payment is to be applied to.
Your 6th Option Adds A Personal Touch
If you have some time on your hands and want to see where some of your tax dollars are going, you can opt to pay your tax bill using cash. You never want to send cash through the U.S. postal system but you can visit your local irs office and submit you cash payment in person. Depending on the date that you choose for your visit, there would be a long line which will require you to wait so plan ahead and go before April 15th.
Need More Time?
Even though you know that taxes are due each year on roughly the same day, there are times when you just don’t have the money or available credit on your credit card to pay your tax bill. Some years are tougher than others or you might have just had an unexpected expense come up that left you a little cash poor. But you still need to file your taxes, pay whatever you can afford of the amount that you owe and include an additional form. You will find that form 4868, called simply enough the Application for Automatic Extension to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, is all that you need to complete. The best way to file this form and your taxes is electronically because you will get an electronic acknowledgment as soon as you complete the transaction. This assures you that you have been granted the extension and you have proof for your records. Then all you need to do is pay your bill when you have the money. But keep in mind that the irs does charge a penalty and interest on any balance that you carry beyond the set filing deadline for that particular year.
Taxes Are Just Part of Life
From the first job that you ever land to your last days on earth, you will most likely need to file taxes. It is a part of our government and a means for the masses to contribute to supporting our country and the services that we all use and enjoy. But as the system has gotten more intricate, tax payers have become more reluctant to work through the process. Some choose to wait until the last minute and then have fewer options on how to submit their payment while others file early and pay taxes to irs by check every year. The choice is yours but remember that the early you complete the task the more options you will have at your disposal to pay your tax bill.