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The Internal Revenue Service now is accepting cash from taxpayers who don’t have bank accounts or who prefer to pay their bills, tax and otherwise, that way.
Uncle Sam’s tax collector has partnered with ACI Worldwide’s Official Payments and PayNearMe to make cash tax payment available at more than 7,000 7-Eleven stores across the country.
“Taxpayers have many options to pay their tax bills by direct debit, a check or a credit card, but this provides a new way for people who can only pay their taxes in cash,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in announcing the new service.
But, this being taxes and the IRS, the cash option isn’t as simple as showing up at your neighborhood convenience store and handing over your tax payment.
Here’s a primer on using the cash tax payment option.
Pay, but not quickly, with cash
Start at the IRS payments web page. Click the tab at the top of IRS.gov, “Payments,” to take you there.
Once at the payments page, click the “cash” link (under “Other ways you can pay”). Under the first step, click the link that takes you to Official Payments, with which the IRS has worked since 1999 to accept debit and credit card tax payments.
At the Official Payments website, start the payment process. No, it doesn’t say “pay with cash” yet. You’ll get there after you select the type of tax payment (annual 1040, estimated tax, etc.) you want to make.
After clicking on “Start,” the next web page offers you the “Cash at 7-Eleven” payment option. When you click “continue,” it will take you through the process, which ultimately will result in you getting an email from Official Payments that validates your information.
After the IRS also confirms your data, you’ll then get another email, this time from PayNearMe. This is the company that actually accepts your cash at a 7-Eleven and delivers it to the U.S. Treasury.
In that email you’ll find a link that will provide you with your PayNearMe code. You can print it or have it sent to your smartphone.
Now you’re ready to head, code in hand or on phone, to a participating convenience store. You can find one of the IRS-approved 7-Eleven payment locations by going again to the IRS cash payment page.
The convenience store clerk will give you a receipt for your payment, which should post to the taxpayer’s IRS account within 2 business days.
A few more cash payment details
As you can see from the process, it’s not a one-day task, so plan accordingly. If you wait until April 18 to pay, you won’t make the deadline and will be hit with late-payment penalties.
Similarly, the payment code is not good forever. It will expire 7 days after it is emailed to you.
Find your 7-Eleven early. Not every store is participating. And in some states, you can’t use this cash payment option at all. Official Payments notes in the fine print when you choose the cash option that, “There are no participating locations in the following states at this time: AL, AK, AR, GA, HI, LA, MN, MS, MT, NE, NM, ND, OK, SD, TN, WY.”
The maximum cash payment you can make is $1,000 per day.
And whatever cash amount you pay, it will cost you a few dollars more. A $3.99 service fee will be added automatically when you set up your cash payment at Official Payments.
Paul S. Herman CPA, a tax expert for individuals and businesses, is the founder of Herman & Company, CPA’s PC in White Plains, New York. He provides guidance and strategies to improve clients’ financial well-being.