Dear Liz: I’m a CPA and your answer about paying taxes electronically was spot-on.
But there’s a pro tip you might share: I advise all my clients to establish accounts with the IRS and their state tax authority.
That allows my clients to schedule payments more easily with a single log-on (rather than having to validate each time with prior year tax information). Such accounts also provide ready access to payment history, making it easier to share that information with me at tax time.
Answer: That’s an excellent suggestion. The IRS’ Direct Pay service offers a free, secure way for people to pay annual and estimated taxes from their bank accounts without having to register in advance. The IRS also provides an option to pay with credit or debit cards, for a fee.
Creating an IRS online account allows you to see amounts you owe, past payments and any scheduled payments, plus you can make a same-day payment from your bank account. You can view details of your most recent tax return, get instant access to tax transcripts and authorize your tax pro to represent you if there’s a problem. In fact, many tax pros recommend setting up an account just in case you get audited or run into other problems, rather than waiting to do it while under duress.
You’ll need a valid email address, a mobile phone number, identification such as a passport or driver’s license and your Social Security or tax identification number. The process typically takes 15 to 30 minutes to complete.
Liz Weston, Certified Financial Planner, is a personal finance columnist for NerdWallet. Questions may be sent to her at 3940 Laurel Canyon, No. 238, Studio City, CA 91604, or by using the “Contact” form at asklizweston.com.
Read More: Getting ready to pay your taxes? Establish online account with IRS, state tax authority now