Before you pay the IRS with a credit card

Americans love their plastic, but most don't think of credit cards as a tax-payment vehicle.

Still, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says that as of mid-March, more than 20,000 taxpayers have charged tax payments totaling $55 million, Utah's Standard-Examiner reported last week. That's 13 percent more than the number who charged payments last year.

It's a boon for some who may need the extra 30 days granted by the billing cycle. But the fees that the IRS charges taxpayers for the service can add up. The government contracts with outside companies to process the payments.

The fee is based on the amount you owe, David Hathaway, an H&R Block district manager in northern Utah, told the Standard-Examiner. For example, taxpayers would pay about $25 on a tax bill of $700. Those who owe $5,000 pay about $130. "I don't recommend it because I think it costs too much," Mr. Hathaway said.

Taxpayers can pay by Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card, and, for the first time this year, Visa.

As many as 132 million returns are expected to be filed this tax season, which ends April 15. Of those, 27 percent are expected to have to pay taxes. The remainder will receive refunds.

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