Topic 158 - Ensuring Proper Credit of Payments

If you have a balance due on your personal tax return, IRS electronic payment options are the best way for you to pay federal taxes. Paying electronically is the most convenient and secure way to make tax payments. You can make electronic payments online, by phone, or from a mobile device. Paying electronically is safe. The IRS uses the latest encryption technology and does not store banking information. When you use any of the IRS ePay options, it puts you in control of paying your tax bill and gives you peace of mind. You determine the payment date and you will receive an immediate confirmation from the IRS. It’s quick, easy, secure and much faster than mailing in a check or money order. Electronic payment options are available on the IRS.gov Payments page. Direct Pay is a secure service you can use to pay your individual tax bill or estimated tax payment directly from your checking or savings account at no cost to you. In just five easy steps you’ll receive instant confirmation that your payment has been submitted.

If you are filing your tax return electronically, you have the option of paying by electronic debit of your bank account using the Electronic Funds Withdrawal option. You will need to know your account number and your financial institution's routing number. You can check with your financial institution to make sure they allow electronic withdrawals and to get the correct routing and account numbers.

For detailed information on paying your taxes by credit or debit card, Direct Pay or other electronic payment methods, click the payments tab on the IRS.gov homepage or go to IRS.gov/Payments.

Direct Pay is the recommended way to pay your individual and estimated tax bill. However, if you decide to file and pay file by mail, enclose a check or money order and Form 1040-V (PDF), Payment Voucher, with your federal tax return. Do not staple or otherwise attach your payment or Form 1040-V to your return. Instead, just put them loose in the envelope. Never send cash!

  • Make your check or money order payable to the United States Treasury, annotate on the front of your payment your correct name, address, Social Security number, daytime telephone number, tax year and form number (example - 2014 F-1040)
  • If you are making a payment on a joint return, provide the Social Security number that is listed first on the return.
  • If you are making an estimated tax payment with check or money order meant for payment of the current year's federal income tax, do not mail your estimated tax payment with your tax return. You will need to mail your estimated tax payments separately to the address shown in the Form 1040-ES (PDF), Estimated Tax for Individuals, under the section "Where to File Your Estimated Tax Payment Voucher if Paying by Check or Money Order." You can use Direct Pay to make estimated tax payments for the current calendar year and receive immediate confirmation of your payment.

Don’t wait in line, pay online. However, if you decide to pay in person at an IRS office, keep the date-stamped receipt as part of your records.

For payment information, go to IRS.gov/Payments.

For additional information, refer to Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: April 22, 2015