How To Write a Check to the IRS

Checkbook photo

There is no hiding from the tax man, no matter how much you resent and rant against the highhandedness of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). As a citizen, it is one’s duty to pay taxes at the specified times and at specified rates. Usually, federal taxes are collected at source as per applicable rates, such as taxes on income, so you don’t need to go through the rigmarole of assessing and calculating which tax amounts are payable.

However, there may be instances where the tax deducted at the source was miscalculated, or additional income was earned after the annual tax liability was assessed and paid-off. In addition, when you send in your annual tax returns, there could be income from other sources such as bonds, securities or other financial investments, rental income, business income from an alternate source (a home-based business for example), capital gains tax, and the like, which have to be paid separately by you. In these cases, you will need to make payments to the IRS directly.

There is a wealth of information on taxation available on the IRS website which you must check out carefully. The information is broken down into several sections, each concerning a specific sub-process or topic. This can be accessed at Additional information can be accessed from the FAQ section and the section titled Tax Trails.

The IRS offers several convenient payment options as follows:

(i) Check or money order
(ii) Electronic Funds Transfer from your bank account
(iii) Credit card (processed by 2 independent service providers, a convenience fee is levied - this also applie to option (i)

Writing a check

Many people still prefer to pay their taxes with a check, since other methods involve additional fees. This is in addition to the interest and penalty fees already tagged onto your tax bill, which keep increasing as long as there is an amount due from you. When making a check payment, follow the guidelines below:

  • Your check should be made payable to the “United States Treasury”.
  • The check should be accompanied by the annual tax return and statement of payment – Form-1040-V.
  • On the check, provide clear details of your full name, valid address, telephone number(s) where you are contactable during the day, your social security number and the filing year and form number in the format “ XXXX Form 1040” where XXXX is the year of filing.
  • Fill the same details in the designated fields on Form-1040 as well.
  • Use the format “$XXX.XX” for entering the amount in figures in the designated box. For example, $100.00 - do not use any other formats or symbols in this box.
  • Enclose the three documents: the check, Form-1040 and your tax return – in the pre-addressed envelope provided, without stapling or pinning the documents together.
  • Mail the envelope as per directions provided in your tax pack for that year.

Writing a check to the IRS is simple and easy. Just make sure you follow the instructions provided and that the information provided is accurate, clear and legible.


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