IRS sets up a Web site for taxpayers to pay bill

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — People and companies can now pay all federal taxes on a secure Internet site that promises greater convenience and reduced paperwork.

The initiative, to be announced today but already operational, opens to all U.S. taxpayers a Web site that is part of the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or EFTPS. The Web site, used primarily by businesses in a pilot program, has collected more than $1.9 billion in taxes over the past year.

"Technology can do many wonderful things," said Deputy Treasury Secretary Ken Dam. "Unfortunately, it can’t make taxes disappear, but EFTPS-Online can make taxes less painful to pay."

Any federal tax can be paid using the system, which is free. Internal Revenue Service officials say it should be particularly attractive to individuals who make quarterly estimated payments. In fiscal 2000, about 39.2 million estimated tax payments were made.

Taxpayers must enroll in the system by going to the Internet site and following the prompts. Necessary information includes a taxpayer identification number — for individuals, that’s a Social Security number — as well as precise spelling of the taxpayer’s name and bank information.

After enrollment, the taxpayer will receive by mail a confirmation kit that includes a password for the Internet site. A separate mailing will include a unique personal identification number for additional security.

Among the promised benefits for taxpayers:

  • Confirmation that the IRS received a payment, in the form of a printable acknowledgment number.

  • Direct transfer of the payment to the government from a bank account on a specified date.

  • Ability to review tax payment history, up to 365 days for individuals and 120 days for businesses.

  • Advance scheduling of payments.

    IRS officials say the system will reduce paperwork, improve cash flow for the government and improve the agency’s accuracy and responsiveness to taxpayers.

    About 3.5 million individuals and businesses have enrolled in the overall EFTPS program, which allows payments by telephone, over the Web site and through a dial-up program using computer software. More than $5.7 trillion in taxes has been collected since the program began in 1996.

    Terry Lutes, director of IRS electronic tax administration, said the online system is more secure that those used by banks and includes dedicated hardware, several layers that are difficult to breach and 24-hour, seven-day-a-week monitoring by the IRS.

    "If somebody were to try to gain unauthorized access, they would have significantly more difficulty than they would with a system in the private sector," Lutes said.

    Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    Talk to us

  • More in Local News

    The Safeway store at 4128 Rucker Ave., on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Mike Henneke / The Herald)
    Police: Everett Safeway ex-worker accused of trying to ram customers

    The man, 40, was showing symptoms of psychosis, police wrote. Officers found him circling another parking lot off Mukilteo Boulevard.

    Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell speaks during a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the 196th ST SW Improvement Project near the 196th and 44th Ave West intersection in Lynnwood, Washington on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
    Jarred by anti-Semitic rants, Lynnwood council approves tax increase

    Three people spewed hate speech via Zoom at a council meeting this week. Then, the council moved on to regular business.

    The county canvassing board certifies election results at the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
    General election results stamped official by canvassing board

    In Snohomish County, one hand recount will take place. Officials said ballot challenges were down this year.

    The Days Inn on Everett Mall Way, which Snohomish County is set to purchase and convert into emergency housing, is seen Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    Over $130M for affordable housing set to be approved by County Council

    The five-year investment plan of the 0.1% sales tax aims to construct 550 new affordable units.

    Two snowboarders head up the mountain in a lift chair on the opening day of ski season at Stevens Pass Ski Area on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, near Skykomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    Ski season delayed at Stevens Pass due to minimal snow

    Resort originally planned to open Dec. 1. But staff are hopeful this week’s snow will allow guests to hit the slopes soon.

    Siblings Qingyun, left, and Ruoyun Li, 12 and 13, respectively, are together on campus at Everett Community College on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Everett, Washington. The two are taking a full course load at the community college this semester. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    Siblings, age 12 and 13, are youngest students at EvCC campus

    Qingyun Li was 11 when he scored a perfect 36 on the ACT test. His sister, Ruoyun, was one point away.

    Edmond’s newly elected mayor Mike Rosen on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Mayor-elect Rosen wants to ‘make Edmonds politics boring again’

    Mike Rosen handily defeated incumbent Mayor Mike Nelson. He talked with The Herald about how he wants to gather the “full input” of residents.

    A speed camera facing west along 220th Street Southwest on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Traffic cameras, and tickets, come to Edmonds; Mukilteo could be next

    New school zone cameras in Edmonds will begin operating in January. Mukilteo is considering enforcement cameras as well.

    A suspected gas explosion on Wednesday destroyed a house in the 19700 block of 25TH DR SE in Bothell, Washington. (Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue)
    After a newly bought Bothell house exploded, experts urge caution

    The owners had closed on their purchase of the house just two days earlier. No one was hurt in the explosion.

    3 men charged in armed home invasion near Everett

    Prosecutors allege the trio targeted other Asian American homes across Snohomish, Whatcom and King counties.

    Team members prep for the upcoming ski season at Stevens Pass Resort in Skykomish, Washington on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
    Any day now: All eyes on snow forecast at Stevens Pass

    The ski area was a flurry of activity this week, as staff made sure a new lift and app were running smoothly.

    Carjacking suspects tracked via GPS from Everett to Renton, then arrested

    A King County resident reported two people stole their Mercedes at gunpoint. Hours later, its GPS tracker pinged in north Everett.

    Support local journalism

    If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.