Sadly, there’s no avoiding paying taxes to the IRS — whether that’s once a year or multiple times for those who are self-employed. However, what you do have agency over is how you pay. One of the few ways you can pay taxes is with a credit card.
Whether you want to pay the IRS with a credit card so that you can earn rewards or have a bit of financial breathing room, it’s important to be aware of the implications of using such a payment method. Read on to learn more about how to pay taxes with a credit card.
Can You Pay Federal Taxes With a Credit Card?
Yes, you can. More specifically, you can pay your federal taxes with a credit card (and in some cases, you may even be able to pay your state taxes with one as well). The IRS offers different third-party payment processors that accept credit card payments for taxes.
Keep in mind that if you pay the IRS with a credit card, this type of transaction isn’t free, given how credit cards work. Whichever third-party payment service provider you choose, you’ll be charged additional processing fees for the convenience of using your credit card to pay taxes. For example, all of the third-party options charge a percentage of the amount you’ll be paying in taxes, but there’s also a minimum flat fee you’ll owe.
In addition, there may be limitations on how many times you can use your credit card for IRS payments. For instance, if you wanted to pay your personal income taxes, you can only do so twice per year for the current tax year due. However, if you worked out a monthly payment plan with the IRS, you can pay with a credit card up to two times per month.
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What to Know Before Paying Taxes With a Credit Card
Before pulling out your credit card to pay your taxes, it’s important to know what your goals are. Here are some common reasons taxpayers choose to pay their taxes with a credit card:
• You may earn rewards points, cash back, or miles. Many consumers love to earn perks offered by their credit card issuers and see it as a major benefit of what a credit card is. Even with the additional fees associated with paying taxes with a credit card, you may feel like the rewards offset what you’ll pay. In other words, if the value of the rewards is much higher than the service fees, it might be worth using your card. As an example, let’s say you’ll be able to earn 4,000 rewards points from your tax payment, which equates to $100 toward a flight or hotel room. If you owe $3,000 in federal taxes and the third-party payment service charges a 1.96% fee, you’re effectively paying $58.80 in fees to earn $100 in rewards. Whether that’s worth it is up to you.
• It’s possible to earn a major rewards bonus. If you signed up for a new rewards credit card and need to meet a minimum spending threshold to earn a huge bonus, it might be worth considering paying your taxes with that credit card. For instance, if you signed up for a credit card offering 50,000 bonus miles — an equivalent to $1,000 worth of travel — paying a $4,000 tax bill with a payment service charge of 1.96% equates to $78.40 in fees. Assuming that meets your minimum spending threshold, the value you receive is pretty high. Just make sure you can make more than your credit card minimum payment, and ideally your full balance, to avoid interest accruing.
• You’ll gain the ability to spread out your payment. Paying taxes with a credit card might be worth considering if you’re looking for a low-cost way to spread out your tax payments. If you have excellent credit, you may qualify for a credit card offering a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR), meaning you’ll have time until the offer runs out to pay off your taxes interest-free. Sure, you’re paying card processing service fees, but that could be worth it to spread out your payments. However, many credit card companies have terms and conditions that stipulate how you can remain in good standing for the introductory offer for the APR on a credit card — make sure you’re following them, or you could end up paying a high amount in interest.
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What Is the Fee for Paying Taxes With a Credit Card?
As mentioned, the amount of the fee you’ll owe for paying taxes with a credit card will vary depending on which payment processor you use. Here’s a look at how much each processor’s fees run:
|ACI Payments, Inc.
Pros and Cons of Paying Taxes With a Credit Card
There are advantages and disadvantages to paying the IRS with a credit card. Here’s an overview of the pros and cons, which we’ll cover in more detail below:
|Pros of Paying Taxes With a Credit Card
|Cons of Paying Taxes With a Credit Card
|Earn cash back and credit card rewards
|Third-party payment processors charge fees
|Meet spending thresholds for bonus rewards earnings
|Rewards earnings may not offset fees paid
|Use a convenient form of payment
|Potentially pay high credit card interest rates if you carry a balance or the introductory APR period ends before your balance is paid off
|Spread out payments interest-free if using a card with 0% introductory APR
|IRS payment plan interest rates may be lower than what’s offered by credit cards
Pros of Paying Taxes With a Credit Card
There are the major upsides of paying the IRS with a credit card, including:
• You can earn cash back and credit card rewards. By putting the amount of your tax bill on your credit card, you might earn some credit card rewards. Just make sure your rewards earnings will offset any fees you’ll pay (though rest assured, taxable credit card rewards usually aren’t a thing, except in certain cases).
• It can help you meet spending thresholds to earn bonus rewards. Often, credit cards that offer bonuses require you to spend a certain amount within a specified period of time in order to earn them. If you’re struggling to reach that threshold, paying your taxes with your credit card could help, allowing you to snag those bonus rewards.
• It’s a convenient form of payment. Anyone who has paid with a credit card knows it’s easy. You don’t have to fill in various bank account numbers like you otherwise would if you opt to cover your tax bill with a credit card.
• You can spread out payments — and interest-free, if you have a 0% APR card. If you’re tight on cash or simply want to spread out your tax payment, a credit card can enable you to do so. Even better, if you have a card that offers 0% APR, you’ll avoid paying any interest while you space out your payments.
Cons of Paying Taxes With a Credit Card
It’s not all upsides when it comes to paying taxes with a credit card. Make sure to consider these drawbacks as well:
• You’ll pay third-party processing fees. Perhaps the biggest drawback of paying the IRS with a credit card is you’ll pay fees. The exact amount you pay in fees will vary depending on which third-party payment processor you use, but they can range from 1.85% up to 1.98%. If your tax bill is $1,000, for example, you could pay up to $19.80 in fees.
• The rewards you earn might not offset the fees. If your rewards rate is close to the amount in fees, those two will effectively cancel each other out. In other words, you’ll pretty much break even if you pay roughly the same amount in fees as you earn in credit card rewards, which might not make using a credit card worthwhile.
• You could end up paying interest at a steep rate. If you aren’t able to pay off your balance in full by the statement due date, or if for some reason you don’t pay off your full balance by the time your 0% APR intro offer ends, interest charges will start racking up. Plus, credit card interest rates tend to be pretty high compared to other types of loans.
• There might be lower interest rate payment plans available. If you’re hoping to spread out your payments, using a credit card might not be your most cost-efficient option. The IRS offers a payment plan for those who qualify, and the interest rate can be lower than the APR on a credit card.
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How Do You Pay Taxes With a Credit Card?
If you’ve decided you want to use your credit card for tax payments, here’s how you do it.
1. Decide Which Credit Card to Use
Consider your reasons for using a credit card — is it to earn rewards, meet a minimum spending threshold, or spread out your payments interest-free? Whatever it is, make sure to choose a card that meets your goals. If you want to open a credit card, then you’ll want to make sure you receive the card in time to pay the IRS before the tax filing deadline.
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2. Determine the Amount You Want to Pay
Whatever the amount is, ensure it’s well within your credit card limit. You can spread your payments over multiple credit cards, but keep in mind the transaction limits that the IRS imposes for certain payments.
3. Choose a Third-Party Payment Processor
The IRS website currently lists three approved payment service providers that you can use. Compare which one offers the best features and lowest fees for your situation.
4. Make Your Payment
Once you’ve selected which payment service provider you want to go with, head to their website and follow the instructions. You may be asked to provide information such as the credit card expiration date and CVV number on a credit card. Double check that you’re making the right type of payment and that all the information you’ve entered is accurate before pressing submit.
Other Ways to Cover Your Tax Bill
If you’re not convinced the costs involved in credit card payment are worth it, there are other ways that you can pay your taxes.
Direct Pay With Bank Account
While this option won’t allow you to earn rewards or spread out your payments, you’ll also steer clear of paying any fees or potentially owing interest. To make a tax payment directly from your bank account, you’ll simply need to select this option and provide the requested banking information, such as your bank account and routing numbers.
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IRS Payment Plan
If you’re hoping to be able to pay off your balance over time, you can apply for a payment plan with the IRS. You may qualify for a short-term payment plan if you owe less than $100,000 in combined tax, penalties or interest, or you could get a long-term payment plan if you owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties, and interest and have filed all required returns.
Note that this option may involve fees and interest though. The costs involved will depend on which type of plan you’re approved for.
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Looking for a New Credit Card?
Indeed, you can pay taxes with a credit card. Paying taxes using a rewards credit card is a great way to earn perks, helping you maximize your spending. However, there are downsides to consider as well, such as the third-party processing fees and the potential to run into high credit card interest if you don’t have a good APR for a credit card.
If you do want to pay taxes with a credit card, it’s important to find the right card to do so. With the SoFi Credit Card, for example, cardholders can earn generous cash-back rewards on all eligible purchases. You can then redeem rewards for cash, investments, or eligible SoFi loan payments, or as a statement credit.
The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1
What does it cost to pay taxes with a credit card?
Third-party payment processors charge a service fee to pay your taxes with a credit card. In many cases, it’s typically a percentage of your payment amount, with a minimum flat fee charged.
Does paying taxes with your credit card earn you rewards?
Paying taxes can earn you rewards, depending on the type of credit card you use. Many rewards credit cards offer cash back, miles, or travel points on qualifying purchases. Before doing so, it might be helpful to determine whether the value of the rewards earned will outweigh the fees you’ll pay.
Is it better to pay taxes with a credit card or debit card?
Both methods of paying your taxes can be a great choice, depending on your financial situation. If you’re not interested in earning rewards or spreading out your payments and have the cash on hand, you can pay with a debit card. Some may prefer to pay with a credit card because they feel it’s a more secure way to make payments.
Are credit cards the cheapest way to pay your tax bill?
No. Paying your taxes with a credit card will add an additional fee onto your tax bill, plus you could end up paying interest if you don’t pay off your full statement balance by the due date. Other options, such as direct pay with your bank account don’t involve paying fees or interest.
Can you pay state taxes with a credit card?
It depends. Some states do facilitate tax payments with a credit card. To find out if yours does, check your state’s tax website for more information.
Can you pay property taxes with a credit card?
Once again, it depends which state you live in. Many counties and cities will allow you to pay property taxes with a credit card, though not all do. Reach out to your local tax collector’s office to see which payment options are accepted.
Photo credit: iStock/Moyo Studio
1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.
1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.
SoFi cardholders earn 2% unlimited cash back rewards when redeemed to save, invest, a statement credit, or pay down eligible SoFi debt.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details, please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.