Additional information on IRS Direct Pay

Will Direct Pay work for me?

Direct Pay is a free IRS service that lets you make tax payments online directly from your bank account to the IRS.

Direct Pay lets you pay the IRS directly. It is not a way to get a direct deposit of your tax refund to your bank account.

Individual taxpayers can use Direct Pay for payments on the following returns:

  • Income Tax Form 1040
  • 1040 Health Care payments (formerly called "shared responsibility" payments)
  • 1040ES (Estimated tax)
  • 1040X (Amended Return)           
  • Installment Agreement
  • 4868 (Extension to file)
  • 5329 (Additional taxes on qualified plans)

Refer to our tip sheet for which option to select in Direct Pay for different types of payments and limits on the time periods permitted for each.

If you file a business tax return separate from your individual return, you cannot use Direct Pay for business payments. You can register with the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System® (EFTPS) to make free online payments from a bank account for your business.

Yes, for each payment you make you will receive a confirmation number. You also have an option to have your payment confirmation emailed to you.  You should keep a copy of each confirmation number in case you need to modify or cancel your payment. 

Direct Pay only provides confirmation of your payment submission. To be sure the payment was successfully withdrawn from your bank account, check your bank statement, or view your IRS account at least 48 hours after your requested payment date.

IRS Direct Pay works best with:

  • Internet Explorer 11 (or higher) and higher on Windows 10
  • Firefox 80  (or higher), or Safari 12, 13 and 14, on iOS
  • Chrome 85 (or higher) on Android 8, 9, and 10

You may experience issues using  Direct Pay  with other web browsers, (for instance, IE 11 on Windows 7). If you do, other payment options are available.  

EFTPS is used for most business payments. EFTPS may save you time if you are making quarterly estimated tax payments or making frequent payments. Direct Pay may be faster if you have an immediate payment deadline and have never used EFTPS.

Differences Between Direct Pay and EFTPS
Feature Direct Pay EFTPS
Registration required No Yes; first time users must receive a PIN by U.S. mail
Limitations on multiple payments Up to 2 current or future payments per day (24 hours); if you exit the application, you must verify your identity again when you return Up to 4 current or future (e.g. estimated tax) payments permitted per session and up to 5 per day (24 hours); for monthly installment payments on a payment plan for past due amounts, you must log in for each payment 
View past and pending (upcoming and future) payments If you save your confirmation number, you can look up one Direct Pay payment at a time. (For full payment history 24 months back, register for and log in to your Account.) View all pending payments plus up to 16 months of past payments made through EFTPS only. (For full payment history 24 months back, register for and log in to your Account.)
Free phone payments No; pay by phone with a credit or debit card for a fee through a partner company Yes; free automated phone payments always available (24/7 even during web site maintenance periods)
Live telephone customer service Limited; call EFTPS number for help locating a lost payment or verifying your identity Yes; live operator always available for help making payments (24/7)
Limit on payment amount Must be under $10 million per payment Must be under $50 million per payment

Both Direct Pay and EFTPS:

  • allow payments from either a checking or savings account from a U.S. financial institution
  • treat payments due on the date of payment as being made on time, even if the bank withdrawal actually happens later. (Payments over $1 Million and payments made on weekends, bank holidays, and after 3 pm Eastern Time on a business day may be withdrawn the next business day.)
  • offer evidence of your payment through a confirmation number and optional email
  • allow scheduling of payments up to 365 days in advance
  • permit pending payments to be canceled up to 2 days prior to the scheduled payment date

Neither payment method permits payments from foreign banks with no U.S. affiliate. Neither online system is available from 11:45 pm to midnight Eastern Time.

You can make up to two Direct Pay payments within a 24-hour period. To make a third payment, try again 24 hours after the first of the two payments.

You can’t make payments larger than $9,999,999.99 using Direct Pay. You can make them through EFTPS or same-day wire, or you can break a large payment into two or more smaller payments on Direct Pay.

How do I...

Choose option “Make a Payment” on the main Direct Pay page. You’ll then need to select the reason for your payment, how you want it applied, and the tax year you want it applied to. If your payment is not for an amount owed on your tax return, you may want to review our guidance on selecting the appropriate reason for payment.

You can schedule a payment up to 365 days in advance.  After choosing the “Make a Payment” option, on Step 3 of the application, you will be prompted to select a payment date.

Provided you wrote down your confirmation number, or requested it be emailed to you, you can use that number to look up, modify or cancel a scheduled payment before it happens. Select the option “Look Up a Payment” on the main Direct Pay page to enter your confirmation number and make changes. You have until two business days before the payment date to cancel or make any changes.

You can only make or schedule one payment at a time using IRS Direct Pay. If you request email confirmation, you will receive an email reminder two days before the scheduled payment date.  Otherwise, you will need to keep track of the future payment dates yourself. To schedule estimated tax payments to occur at intervals throughout the year and check on their status, paying through EFTPS may be faster and easier.

If you are making monthly installment agreement payments on an overdue amount, you can set up recurring payments with the Online Payment Agreement Application. (Remember that interest and penalties will be charged on any unpaid balances.)

Each time you reenter Direct Pay after closing it, Direct Pay verifies your personal information from a prior year tax return of your choice. This information does not need to be for the same tax year on which you are making your payment. It can be from as far back as 5 to 6 years ago depending on the time of year.

Your confirmation number confirms that you’ve approved IRS to make the bank withdrawal. If the withdrawal is successful, you will get credit for the day you selected in Direct Pay, though it may take up to two business days to actually process. Payments submitted after 8 p.m. Eastern time for the same day will typically appear as if they were made the next business day in your online account

To verify your payment was processed successfully, check your online tax account two business days after the date you scheduled the payment to be withdrawn from your bank account. Your online tax account will indicate whether a payment attempt was rejected.  If the payment is still listed as "Pending," check back after three more business days to see if the payment was returned or reversed.  If it was, you can try submitting it again to avoid interest and penalties.

You can also check with your bank after two business days to make sure the payment went through. If your bank confirms your payment was processed, but it does not appear in your IRS Online Account, contact us by phone

You can make a payment for someone else if you file jointly on the same tax return. On Step 2, "Verify Identity," select "Married – Filed Joint Return" as your filing status, then input the remaining information for the primary spouse (name listed on the tax return first).

IRS Direct Pay requires a U.S. bank routing number (ABA). This nine-digit number is generally printed on checks or is available from your bank. If you have an account with an international bank that has a U.S. affiliate, the bank may be able to provide the routing number.  Direct Pay does not accept SWIFT codes. Other payment options are available if you need to pay from a foreign bank with no U.S. routing number.

If you received a recent payment due notice or letter, you will see the amount you need to pay and the due date. The notice may have been sent before receipt of your last payment. Individual taxpayers can view their latest account balance online.

If you can’t log in or provide the information required for account registration, you can request a copy of your account transcript  be mailed to you. Be sure to request a “tax account transcript” for each tax year you want (up to 10 years ago), not a “tax return transcript,” which lists the information on the return you filed.

Between January 1st and the original due date of your return, visit the main Direct Pay page and select the “Make a Payment” button. On the page that follows,

  • Select "Extension” as your “Reason for Payment.” (The "Apply Payment to..." field will then start with "4868," the IRS number for the extension request form) 
  • Verify your identity and make a payment

If you complete this process successfully, your payment will be credited towards the tax year for which you are requesting a filing extension, and you will automatically receive the extension. You will not need to file a separate Form 4868, Extension of Time to File Your Tax Return. You can verify your extension by logging into your account

You can pay what you expect to owe or a portion of it. However, a filing extension does not extend the deadline to pay what you owe. It only gives you more time to file your return. If you don’t pay what you owe by the original deadline, you could still owe penalties and interest.

The extension is typically until mid-October of the same year, even in years when the original return is due later than April 15. You don’t get to choose the length of a filing extension. It’s the same for most taxpayers, usually 6 months. Check our page on extension of time to file or this year's Form 4868 to be sure you don’t miss the extended deadline.

Resolving problems

Your Direct Pay confirmation number only confirms the attempt to withdraw the payment from your bank. Unfortunately, there are times when a payment will not get processed, for instance if you did not have enough money in your bank account. If you’ve checked with your bank and have evidence the payment was debited from your bank account, but it's missing from your IRS Online Account two business days after the payment date, contact us by phone.

If we are unable to process your payment, you will receive, by email or U.S. mail, a payment return notice asking you to resubmit the payment. If we apply a penalty, you will receive a second notice by mail with the amount of the penalty. 

If you’ve checked your bank statement and have evidence the payment was debited from your bank account, but you receive a notice saying that we didn't receive it, contact us using the phone number on your notice.  The payment could have been misapplied, or the notice could have been sent out before the payment was received.

Direct Pay can only verify your identity with information from one of your past tax returns (going back 5 to 6 years depending on the time of year). That means if your payment is for the current tax year (e.g., 1040ES Estimated Payment) or a tax return more than 6 years ago, you will need to select another year's return to verify your information.

We recommend using your most recent return for verification. You can't use Direct Pay to make a payment if:

  • You have never filed a federal tax return
  • You're making a payment on your first federal tax return

Since Direct Pay works without a login, you will need to verify your identity each time you revisit Direct Pay after closing it. Make sure you enter your name and address exactly as they appear on the tax return you are using for verification. If your name or address have changed, try selecting a prior or later year for verification and enter the information from that year.

You will need to enter your name, address and social security number for each payment you make, even if you keep the application open between payments. If you are making frequent or multiple payments, consider registering with EFTPS, which is password protected.

Unfortunately, Direct Pay cannot retrieve your confirmation number once you leave the application. Using the Direct Pay email option may help you retain your confirmation number.

IRS does not normally contact taxpayers through email. However, if you received an IRS branded email, it may be because you requested email confirmation of your payments when using Direct Pay. If you think you received a fraudulent email from someone claiming to be or to represent the IRS, follow our advice on reporting phishing attempts.