10/30/2014

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Consumer

Does it makes sense to pay tax bill with you credit card?

Paying your tax liability with your credit card may seem like a smart move.

It lets you delay the actual payment for a month or so. And you may be able earn some extra rewards on your card.

But before you reach for your wallet, consider this.

There are only a few companies authorized to handle these transactions and they charge a processing fee. This year, that’s as much a 2.35 percent of the balance.

"So on a $2,000 tax bill that's an extra $47," said Toby Stanger at Consumer Reports Money Advisor.

And what about those extra reward points?

Once again, Stanger did the math. The typical credit-card reward is 1 percent. On a $2,000 tax payment, that's worth $20.

And then there's this reality check.

"If you don't pay your credit card bill on time and they you've got interest, it's going to wipe out any rewards that you might get," Stanger reminded us.

Consumer Reports says there are more affordable options for those who can't afford to pay their tax bill right now.

The IRS automatically accepts requests for payment installment plans (also called installment agreements) for up to $50,000 in combined taxes, penalties and interest. You'll pay interest as long as you owe, but the IRS's current interest rate (3 percent for the first quarter of 2014) is far less than the average credit-card rate.

If you choose the installment plan, you still have to file the return on time on April 15 to avoid penalties; you just don't have to pay everything then.

More Info: Pay your taxes by credit card? Here's why not

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Sometimes, it pays to pay more