Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
 
No. of Recommendations: 0
I know about EFTPS, but I've never used it before. (I did just enroll, but I won't be able to use it until I receive my PIN in the mail.)

I'm just wondering if there's any reason to prefer a real paper check versus using the EFTPS.

FWIW, I have an immediate need to send the IRS money: I owe them $9.69 because of an error I made in my 2011 tax return.

But I'll also need to send them quarterly estimated tax payments, since my wife and I are both self-employed.

So, does anyone here have strong opinions for or against EFTPS?
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
So, does anyone here have strong opinions for or against EFTPS?

I've been using EFTPS for several years and love it. Never had a problem with it. I never had a problem with checks either, but there's the hassle of mailing them.


Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
What Phil said. I switched to EFTPS a few years back. Love it. I setup estimated payments for the first 3 quarters in January and don't have to worry about it again until December. I leave fourth quarter until December since that's when I may take some extra capital gains or adjust my final IRA withdrawal. I may have to pay a little less or a little more but I usually tweak that last payment so I haven't overpaid, at least not much.

On the plus side vs. checks, once you have the confirmation your online instructions have been received you don't have to worry about the check getting lost in the mail. If you have online access to your bank account you can confirm they took the payment as scheduled too.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
I thought about using EFTPS, but found it to be more of a hassle than mailing a check. Sure, I save the postage, but it's simply one more account, password, etc that I need to remember...and it's a government website so I'm sure it won't be a easy process given my experience with other treasury operated websites...

I have a treasury direct account for my savings bonds, and it's a nightmare of a website. You need to have a password with a crazy amount of rules (length, special characters, etc), and they used to make you click it in - couldn't type. The keyboard on the screen wasn't a QWERTY keyboard, so the letters were all mixed up. They also have a special access card that has a grid that you need to match up and type in the special codes. If you forget your password or lock your account you have to call them, they won't reset it via email. If you accidently hit the back button on your browser, you have to re log in your account, which is annoying since many of the pages don't have a link to let you go back to the previous page - you have to go back to a main menu and navigate back to where you were.

Just logged in right now - they've made yet another change. Looks like the access card isn't needed anymore; they sent me a one time passcode via email.

Long story short - I'll pay the 45 cents to avoid all that.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
It's six of one, half a dozen of the other for me.

I'm also self-employed, but operate my business through a corporation. So I have to deal with payroll taxes rather than estimated tax payments. But it's still EFTPS.

I found EFTPS to be a hassle, so I keep my payroll down just enough so that I don't have to use it. For a while, I just paid myself once a year at the end of the year. The taxes due were too large to write a check, and only making one payment a year, my password was always expired and I had to recover things and wait for them to mail a new PIN.

So I started paying myself something each quarter so that I could send checks with my payroll tax returns instead of dealing with EFTPS. Of course, this has a perverse effect. If I used EFTPS every quarter, my account wouldn't get locked for inactivity and it would be a bit easier to deal with.

Still, I have to mail the payroll tax return, so enclosing a check doesn't add any additional postage or even an extra envelope. (Yes, I could e-file my 941 as well, but I've never done enough of those for clients to bother getting set up for that e-filing.)

--Peter
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
The taxes due were too large to write a check…

Huh? Can't checks be written for any amount?
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
Huh? Can't checks be written for any amount?

Income taxes, yes. But not for payroll taxes. A number of years ago the IRS forced all but the smallest of businesses to use EFTPS (or other electronic payment services) for their payroll taxes.

--Peter
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Steven I suggest you enroll for EFTPS - it works will. As you probably know the IRS requires digital filing of the 1040 now. I expect in the new future the IRS will require its use.

Oddly if you need to file a 1040X (Amended return), you must file paper. There is one other feature that comes in handy. They keep track of your payments, so if you forgot/loose a record come tax season you can look back and see when and how much you paid.

Gordon
Atlanta
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
As you probably know the IRS requires digital filing of the 1040 now…

Actually, I didn't know that. But I've been filing digitally since at least 1999, so that's not a problem.

But it used to be possible (and maybe still is possible) to file digitally, but mail a check by printing out a payment voucher. I used to do that, but now when I file (using H&R Block software on my Mac), I pay via EFT from my checking account.

Back in the days when I still mailed checks, I once got a notice from the IRS saying that I hadn't paid my taxes. This was long after they cashed the check. Fortunately, I was able to provide them with copies of the front & back of the check, and they credited my account.

I suspect problems like that are less likely with electronic payment.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
I'm sure Phil or Ira will jump on this, but last I knew an individual could still print out the forms, fill them out with a pen, and file 1040 by mail. Paid preparers are required in most if not all cases to file electronically.

It's a little like using cash at the store. They aren't used to it much anymore but they still accept it.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
last I knew an individual could still print out the forms, fill them out with a pen, and file 1040 by mail. Paid preparers are required in most if not all cases to file electronically.

Still true.

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
As you probably know the IRS requires digital filing of the 1040 now.

No, I don't know that. I filed paper this winter. Got my refund pretty promptly, too.

Eric Hines
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
As you probably know the IRS requires digital filing of the 1040 now.

Only returns prepared by a paid preparer must be efiled. Individuals preparing their own returns can still file on paper.

Ira
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Back in the days when I still mailed checks, I once got a notice from the IRS saying that I hadn't paid my taxes. This was long after they cashed the check. Fortunately, I was able to provide them with copies of the front & back of the check, and they credited my account.

I suspect problems like that are less likely with electronic payment.

============================
Generally, that's probably true.
When submitting a payment via EFTPS, you have to be very careful that you have correctly entered:
1. The correct type of tax (for businesses)
2. The correct period

Otherwise, the payment will be applied to the wrong account, or the wrong period. With a computer, doing it onscreen, you should look carefully. But some people do it by touch-tone phone, and that's easier to make that kind of mistake.

Bill
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Only returns prepared by a paid preparer must be efiled. Individuals preparing their own returns can still file on paper.

Yep. However, anyone using a paid preparer can opt out of e-filing and choose to file their professionally prepared return on paper. I'd expect a bit of an extra charge from the preparer for doing so.

--Peter <== has a couple of clients who choose to file on paper
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Back in the days when I still mailed checks, I once got a notice from the IRS saying that I hadn't paid my taxes. This was long after they cashed the check. Fortunately, I was able to provide them with copies of the front & back of the check, and they credited my account.

I suspect problems like that are less likely with electronic payment.
============================
Generally, that's probably true.
When submitting a payment via EFTPS, you have to be very careful that you have correctly entered:
1. The correct type of tax (for businesses)
2. The correct period

Otherwise, the payment will be applied to the wrong account, or the wrong period. With a computer, doing it onscreen, you should look carefully. But some people do it by touch-tone phone, and that's easier to make that kind of mistake.


Correcting EFTPS errors isn't as simple as it could be. Back in early April, I submitted a payroll tax deposit for a client and had it credited to the June quarter (after all it was April <g>) when it was the deposit for March's payroll liabilities. I had to wait 10 days after the deposit settled, call the IRS (not the EFTPS people) and have the deposit moved to the correct quarter.

Ira
Print the post Back To Top