IR-2019-99, June 3, 2019
WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service today advised those now receiving tax bills because they filed on time but didn’t pay in full that there are many easy options for paying what they owe.
Taxpayers can pay online, by phone or using their mobile device. Taxpayer who can’t pay in full may consider payment plans and compromise options; the IRS wants anyone facing a tax bill to know that they have many choices available to them.
If a tax return was filed but the amounts owed are unpaid, the taxpayer will receive a letter or notice in the mail from the IRS, usually within a few weeks. These notices, including CP14 and CP501, which notify taxpayers that they have a balance due, are frequently mailed during June and July.
Recent major tax law changes affect most taxpayers, and while the vast majority are receiving refunds, others discovered that they owe tax this year. Many of them may qualify for a waiver of the estimated tax penalty that normally applies. See IRS Form 2210, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals, Estates and Trusts, and its instructions for details.
Taxpayers are reminded to pay as much as possible, as soon as possible to minimize interest and penalties.
Making a payment
Taxes can be paid anytime throughout the year. When paying, taxpayers should keep in mind:
- Electronic payment options are the quickest way to make a tax payment.
- IRS Direct Pay (bank account) is a free way to pay online directly from a checking or savings account.
- Taxpayers can choose to pay with a debit or credit card. Although the payment processor will charge a processing fee, no fees go to the IRS.
- The IRS2Go app provides mobile-friendly payment options. Taxpayers can use Direct Pay or card payments on mobile devices.
- Taxpayers can pay using their tax software when they e-file. For those using a tax preparer, they can ask the preparer to make the tax payment electronically.
- Taxpayers may also enroll in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System and have a choice of using the internet or phone and using the EFTPS Voice Response System.
Those who can’t pay in full have several options. They can:
Set up a payment plan
With the Online Payment Agreement, taxpayers can usually set up a payment plan (including an installment agreement) in a matter of minutes. Individuals who owe $50,000 or less in combined income tax, penalties and interest likely qualify for an Online Payment Agreement.
Online applications to establish tax payment plans are available Monday – Friday, 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 6 p.m. to midnight. All times are Eastern time.
Another option is getting a loan. In many cases, loan costs may be lower than the combination of interest and penalties the IRS must charge under federal law.
Make paying easier
Automating payments makes it easy to avoid default. Using direct debit from a bank account or a payroll deduction means taxpayers don’t have to remember to send in a payment and saves postage costs. User fees may apply, except to low-income taxpayers, but are lower than fees for manual payment plans.
If the IRS determines a taxpayer is unable to pay, it may delay collection until their financial condition improves.
Settle for less
The Offer in Compromise program allows some struggling taxpayers to settle their tax bill for less than the full amount due. User fees apply except to low-income taxpayers. This year’s Offer in Compromise guide and application can be found at www.irs.gov/oicbooklet. The online Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool can help taxpayers determine if they are eligible.
Check tax withholding
For many taxpayers, this year’s unexpected tax bill could have been avoided with a Paycheck Checkup. The IRS urges all taxpayers to check their withholding for 2019, including those who made withholding adjustments in 2018 or had a major life change. Those most at risk of having too little tax withheld from their pay include taxpayers who itemized in the past but now take the increased standard deduction as well as two-wage-earner households, employees with non-wage sources of income, and those with complex tax situations.
Taxpayers can figure out the appropriate withholding to their paychecks with the IRS’s Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov. It’s never too early to check withholding.
The IRS urges everyone to take advantage of the many tools and other resources available on IRS.gov. The Let Us Help You page answers most tax questions, and Publication 5136, IRS Services Guide (PDF), links to these and other IRS services.
Taxpayers can go to IRS.gov/account to securely access information about their federal tax account. They can view the amount they owe, payment history and key information for the most current year tax return as originally filed. Visit IRS.gov/secureaccess to review the required identity authentication process.