Just as more and more businesses accept electronic payment for purchases or bills, so too does the IRS. Of course, you can still pay your taxes each year or quarterly by check or money order, but you can also use other options such as:
- Direct pay through your checking or savings account. This service is free and you can sign up to receive an email notification from the IRS confirming the transaction.
- You can pay by credit or debit card online, by phone or using the IRS2Go app. This service does require a fee.
- Online payment agreement.
- Electronic funds withdrawal when e-filing.
It’s important to remember these conveniences require extra diligence to keep your personal information safe. Here are a few cybersecurity reminders:
- Create strong and unique passwords for every online account. We highly recommend using a service like LastPass that can secure username and password information on an encrypted system. You can read more about LastPass here and here.
- Be aware of phishing scams. Always be aware of suspicious looking emails that ask for highly sensitive information or demand payment. One telltale sign is an email sent at odd hours of the night or from an address with a slight misspelling. Note that the IRS does not demand payment by email. If you choose the direct pay option mentioned above to pay your taxes, you will receive email notifications about your payment only if you have requested the service. Here are more tips for identifying email scams.
- Protect your data if you have been hacked. You can do this by freezing your credit and using credit monitoring services.
- Be aware of W-2 email scams. The first of the year is a common time for scammers to try to trick payroll and human resources officials into disclosing employees’ names, Social Security numbers and income information so they could file fraudulent tax returns for refunds using this information.
- Businesses are vulnerable too. Businesses are subject to having their identities stolen, so take steps to protect your employer tax identification numbers. You can read more here.