skip navigation

Search Help
Navigation Help

Topic Index

Tax Topics

About Tax Map Website
Rev. date: 01/01/2011

Tax Payment Options

Tax Topic 202
Because your balance is subject to interest and a monthly late payment penalty, it is in your best interest to pay in full as soon as you can to minimize the additional charges. Penalties are also assessed for failure to file a tax return so you should file immediately even if you cannot pay your balance in full.
There are many ways to pay an outstanding federal income tax liability. You may pay by check or money order, made out to "United States Treasury." You may pay by transferring money electronically from your bank account. The Electronic Payment Options page on the website explains how to make an electronic payment. You may also pay by credit or debit card by calling Official Payments Corporation at 888-872-9829, Link2Gov Corporation at 888-729-1040, or RBS WorldPay, Inc. at 888-972-9829. A service provider, not the IRS, may charge a convenience fee for electronic payments from your bank account or for payments by credit or debit card. If you cannot pay in full, you should pay as much as possible to reduce the accrual of interest on your account. Please refer to Tax Topic 158 for information needed to ensure that your payment is credited properly.
You should consider financing the full payment of your tax liability through loans, such as a home equity loan from a financial institution or a credit card cash advance. The interest rate and any applicable fees charged by a bank or credit card company are usually lower than the combination of interest and penalties imposed by the Internal Revenue Code. If you cannot pay in full immediately, the IRS offers a short amount of additional time, up to 120 days, to pay in full. No fee will be charged for entering this type of payment arrangement, however, interest will continue to accrue until the liability is paid in full.

Installment Agreements

An installment agreement allows you to make a series of monthly payments over time. The IRS offers various options for making monthly payments, such as:
A one-time installment agreement fee of $105.00 will be charged when you enter into an installment agreement unless you choose to pay through a Direct Debit from your bank account, in which case the fee is $52.00. Taxpayers with income at or below 250% of the Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines may apply for a reduced user fee of $43.00. You can request the reduced fee using Form 13844, Application For Reduced User Fee For Installment Agreements.
Please note: The user fee for restructuring or reinstating an established installment agreement is $45.00 regardless of income levels or method of payment.
You also may request a short amount of additional time, up to 120 days, to pay in full. This payment arrangement does not carry a fee, however, interest will continue to accrue until the liability is paid in full.
If you enter into an installment agreement, your monthly payment should be based on your ability to pay and should be an amount that you can pay each month to avoid defaulting.
You must specify the amount you can pay and the day (1st-28th) on which you wish to make your payment each month. The IRS will expect to receive the payment ON the date you indicate; so be sure to figure mailing time into the date you select. The IRS will respond to your request, usually within 30 days, to advise you as to whether your request has been approved or denied, or if more information is needed.
Direct debit and payroll deduction installment agreements enable you to make timely payments automatically and reduce the possibility of default. For a direct debit installment agreement you must provide your checking account number and your bank routing number to initiate the automated withdrawal of the payment.
You may contact the IRS by phone or in person, or you may submit Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, through the mail. The form has space for you to write in your checking account number and your bank routing number, or you may staple a voided check to the form.
To initiate a payroll deduction installment agreement, submit Form 2159, Payroll Deduction Agreement. Form 2159 must be completed by your employer. The IRS will set up a regular installment agreement for you and convert it to a payroll deduction agreement upon receipt of the completed form from your employer.
Please visit Payment Plans, Installment Agreements on the website for more information about installment agreements.

Responding to your IRS Notice

It is important to respond to an IRS notice. If you do not pay your tax liability in full or make an alternative payment arrangement, the IRS is entitled to take collection action. You may refer to Tax Topic 201 for information about "The Collection Process."
If you are unable to make any payment at this time, please have financial information available (e.g., pay stubs, lease or rental agreement, mortgage statements, car lease/loan, utilities) and call the appropriate number below to receive assistance:
You have rights and protections throughout the collection process. If you would like information on arrangements to pay your bill, installment agreements, and what happens when you take no action to pay, refer to Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process, and Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer.