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I don't think the government is encouraging debt so much as coming up with a way to make sure it gets paid on time.

Close. The IRS is trying to avoid handling the paper.

Right now, the IRS pays one or more of the lockbox companies to receive payments. [Recall that you send your return to one address if you owe them, a different one if you are due a refund.] If the IRS can debit your credit (or debit) card, they don't have to pay to handle the paper.

Personally, if the IRS can pay my refund with an ACH transaction, why can't I pay my taxes the same way?

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