How to Track Payments to the IRS

Whether you're sending an annual tax payment, quarterly contractor payments, payroll taxes or making a payment on an installment agreement you have with the IRS, it's a good idea to keep track of them – even if you're using an autopayment method. Reviewing your options to track payments to the IRS will help you make sure you aren't surprised with fines and penalties because your payments didn't arrive.

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

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Using Shipping and Mailing Receipts

When you send your annual tax return and payment or other payments to the IRS, you can use a private delivery service or the U.S. Postal Service. FedEx, DHL and UPS will provide you with receipts that show the addressee and the date you sent your letter. Using the USPS, you can send mail certified or registered.

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Both let you track your mailing, but certified mail gives you the option to require the recipient (in this case, an employee at the IRS) to sign for the mail. A signature confirmation will be sent back to you.

Whether you use a private service or the USPS, you'll be given a tracking number you can use to view the progress of your letter 24/7, with eventual notification of successful delivery.

Read More:What Happens if You Don't File Taxes?

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Using the IRS Website

When you sign up for an account at the IRS website, you'll get access to your tax records, which will include any balance you owe and a record of your past payments going back ​18 months​. You can set up auto-payments if you have an installment agreement.

Installment agreements allow you to pay your taxes over time (up to seven years) if you don't have the money to pay what you owe right now. You'll pay fines and penalties all during that time (spelled out on the IRS website) on your outstanding balance until your debt is paid off. You'll also pay a small transaction fee if you pay with a credit card.

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Read More:How to Attach W-2s to Tax Returns

Call the IRS

You can also call the IRS to see if your payment has been received. This doesn't help you track your payment if it's still on the way – it only helps you find out if your payment arrived. Follow the directions at the link above, which includes calling the IRS at ​800-829-1040​. This page has other information regarding paying using the IRS service Direct Pay, which debits money from your bank account, or using a debit or credit card.

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When you pay these ways, you'll get an email confirming that your payment arrived. Direct Pay offers a Payment Lookup option, but you'll need an IRS online account.

Contact Your Bank or Card Issuer

Another way to find out if your electronic payment posted or if your check was cashed is to contact your financial partner. Your credit card company should be able to tell you if your payment was accepted. You can call your card issuer using the number on the back of your card or look at your online account information. You can do the same with your bank if you used a debit card or check.

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