8 Ways To Pay the IRS if You Owe Taxes

SAVING & SPENDING - TAXES
Say goodbye to tax stress with these eight simple IRS payment options.
Updated April 9, 2024
Fact checked
Cheque to internal revenue service

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Worried about your upcoming tax bill? Don’t fret. The IRS provides several options to make paying your tax bill easy. It’s best if you pay your tax bill by the due date and in full to avoid any penalties, fees, or interest.

You can even use a 0% interest credit card. If you’re unable to pay in full, the IRS has payment options available too.

Here’s a quick look at the ways you can pay your 2023 tax bill.

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Pay with Direct Pay

kkolosov/Adobe woman shopping online using card

Direct Pay is a secure way to pay your tax bill online through the IRS website using your bank account. This option is available for individuals only. No business payments, sorry.

You can only make two payments in a 24-hour period, and payments are also limited to no more than $10 million. If you need to make payments larger than that, you’ll need to set up a wire transfer.

Direct Pay is available during the following hours, so plan your payments accordingly:

Monday to Saturday: Midnight to 11:45 p.m. ET
Sunday: 7 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. ET

Pay through your online IRS account

shurkin_son/Adobe woman checking bills using laptop

Most taxpayers should create an account on IRS.gov. You can pay from your bank account, debit card, or credit card without an additional fee. You’ll also have access to five years of payment history, including estimated tax payments.

You can schedule or cancel future payments from your online account and view pending or scheduled payments.

Schedule a payment when you e-file through EFW

insta_photos/Adobe senior woman reviewing bills at home

Electronic Fund Withdrawal (EFW) is available to individual and business filers when they e-file using tax preparation software, a tax professional, or IRS Free File. The IRS doesn’t charge a fee to use EFW, but be sure to ask your bank if it charges a fee.

You can schedule an EFW transfer from your checking or savings account when you submit your e-file up to 365 days in advance. This option eliminates the need to submit a voucher with your payment.

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Mail a check or money order

Andrey Popov/Adobe man checking mailbox for mails

To pay taxes using a check or money order, you must follow specific instructions. The check or money order should be made payable to “U.S. Treasury.” 

Don’t use staples or paper clips to attach your payment to the voucher or tax return. You will mail your payment to the address listed on your return.

Make sure your check or money order also includes:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Daytime phone number
  • Social Security number or employer identification number
  • Tax year
  • Related tax form or notice number

Pay with cash at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center

pkstock/Adobe Federal tax form with audit stamp

You can pay your tax bill with cash, but it requires some planning. First, call 844-545-5640 to schedule an appointment at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center that accepts cash. 

You should call at least 30 to 60 days before the day you want to pay your tax bill. When you arrive, there are security checkpoints to ensure everyone’s safety.

Estimate how much your payment will be and what tax you are paying. Stack and bundle your bills in the highest denominations possible. 

If you’re paying more than $10,000, you will receive a call before your appointment to confirm. Appointments typically last one to two hours.

Pay with cash at a participating retailer

Atstock Productions/Adobe businessman giving money

You can also pay with cash at a participating retailer using the VanillaDirect service. You must choose a payment processor which will charge a fee of $1.50 or $2.50. When you file your tax form, select “pay with cash” as your payment type. You will receive an email.

Once you register, you’ll receive a barcode in your email. You’ll need the barcode to pay the cashier at retailers like Dollar General, Family Dollar, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, 7-Eleven, Rite Aid, Walmart, Kroger, and more. You can make payments of up to $500.

Payment plan

Andrii/Adobe payment plan sign on laptop screen

The IRS offers payment plans that allow you to pay what you owe over a period of time. They offer short-term (180 days or less) and long-term (more than 180 days) options. Even with payment plans, you'll still incur penalties and interest until you've paid your tax bill in full.

It's best to choose the shortest amount of time you need to pay the bill. You can set up auto-draft payments to ensure you pay on time each month.

Temporary collection delay

Suriyawut/Adobe man making notes while reviewing taxes

If you owe taxes and are struggling financially, the IRS may temporarily delay the tax collection process. This doesn't erase or forgive the debt but delays the need for payment.

You'll need to provide documentation of your financial situation to be approved. This option is not the same as a payment plan. Taxes and penalties will still apply, though, so continue to work toward paying your taxes as soon as possible.

The IRS may file a tax lien against you to protect its interests until the debt is paid off.

Bottom line

Pcess609/Adobe Tax 2024 on calculator with pennies

The IRS offers various ways to pay your taxes, making the process smoother. Even if you can't settle the full amount right away, filing your return on time is crucial.

Explore payment options to avoid penalties and fees. Remember, the sooner you take care of your tax bill, the sooner you'll be able to lower your financial stress.

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Author Details

Holly Humbert Holly is a writer who recognizes that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to personal finance. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, women in business, and financial literacy. With more than four years of experience, her work has been featured on MarketWatch and The Ways to Wealth.

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