How to Write a Check to Pay Federal Income Tax

Make sure your social security number is on your check.

After completing your yearly tax return, you may find that you owe the Internal Revenue Service money. When this happens, the IRS offers several ways to pay that debt. This includes writing a check or money order.

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You may be wondering how to write a check to pay taxes, as there is a right and wrong way to do this. It's important to include a few key pieces of information when making your payment, or it may not be accepted or properly credited to your account.

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Consider Also:Who Must File Income Taxes?

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Check or Money Order Payments

Who do you make a federal tax check out to? The first thing you'll need to do when writing out your check or money order is to spell out "U.S. Treasury" in the "payable to" field. Next, write the amount you owe in numbers in the box following the dollar sign and the amount you owe written out in words on the line under the "payable to" field. Sign and date the check.

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Move on to the memo section of the check. This is where you need to enter either your Social Security Number (SSN) or your employer identification number (EIN). Follow that with the tax year and the name of the IRS Form. If your check or money order doesn't have your address and telephone number printed on it, you'll need to add that information.

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Where to Mail Tax Payments

The IRS has multiple mailing addresses and the one you use to remit your payment is dependent upon your specific tax form and the state in which you live. You can visit the IRS's "Where to File Paper Returns With or Without a Payment" page and click on your state or the form number to get the correct address.

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If you are still unsure as to where to send your federal tax payment, you can call the IRS for guidance at ​800-829-1040​ (individuals) or ​800-829-4933​ (businesses) between the hours of ​7 a.m. and 7 p.m​. local time.

Note: When mailing your check or money order, the IRS warns not to staple or attach the payment to the return.

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Consider Also:Tax Return Preparation: Tax Services, Tax Help & More

Pay in Installments

If you find that you don't have enough money in your checking account to pay your tax bill in full, you can make arrangements with the IRS to pay in installments.

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Taxpayers who owe ​$50,000 or less​ can apply online for an individual or business payment plan right on the IRS's website. You can choose to set up a short-term payment plan (​180 days or less​), which has no associated fees, or a long-term payment plan (monthly installments), which has a ​$31​ automatic withdrawal set-up fee (​$130​ for non-direct debit) and a charge for all the penalties and interest accrued during that time period.

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Should you owe ​more than $50,000​, you'll need to fill out IRS Form 9465: Installment Agreement Request. Line ​11a​ of Form 9465 is where you list how much you can pay toward your debt per month. The IRS recommends making this number as high as possible to keep fees and interest charges down. If you wish to leave this field blank, the IRS will take the total amount you owe as listed on ​line 9​ and divide that by ​72 months​ to get your monthly installment amount.

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It is important to note that the IRS may or may not approve the request.

Other Ways to Pay

There are several other ways to pay your tax bill. You can visit the IRS's retail partners and pay in cash. There is a ​$1.50 fee​ for each payment and a limit of ​$500 per payment​. ​Two payments​ are allowed per day. There's also the option to use the IRS's Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, which links to your bank account and is entirely free to use.

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If you visit the IRS's "Pay Online" page, you can also pay your tax balance due as a guest using your bank account with Direct Pay, or as an individual or business using your debit card, credit card or digital wallet.

Consider Also:E-Filing: How to File Your Taxes Electronically, IRS Free File & More

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