Filing paperwork early doesn’t mean you have to pay IRS early

Filing your taxes early doesn’t mean you have to pay them when you submit the paperwork to the IRS or the California Franchise Tax Board.According to the California Society of CPAs (www.calcpa.org), you have until April 15 to pay your 2003 taxes regardless of when you file your returns.\\"Not many people know that they don’t have to write a check or provide their credit card number when they file early,\\" explains Harvey McCown, CPA, of Bakersfield. McCown is a member of CalCPA’s taxation committee.\\"The advantage of filing early but waiting until April 15 to pay is that you can have the money work for you during the interim,\\" says McCown. He points out, for example, that you can retain the money owed on taxes in an interest-earning savings account until you withdraw it to pay taxes.\\"The other obvious advantage to filing early, of course, is that if you are owed a refund, you will get it quicker,\\" McCown noted. \\"The average refund this year should be about $2,200.\\" McCown points out that there are several ways taxpayers can make tax payments.If you e-file your federal tax return at http://www.irs.gov, you can select the electronic funds withdrawal option, which allows you to select a future date up until April 15 to have your payment automatically withdrawn from a checking or saving account. You can similarly pay your California taxes through the Franchise Tax Board’s Web Pay service at http://www.ftb.ca.gov/online/webpay.You can pay your federal taxes by credit card by contacting either of two services: Link2Gov Corp. at (888) 729-1040 or www.pay1040.com and Official Payments Corp. at (800) 272-9829 or www.officialpayments.com. You can also pay your California income tax by credit card through Official Payments Corp.McCown notes that you may pay your income tax up until April 15 by credit card, but payees may swamp both services at the last minute. If so, you may not be able to meet the deadline for your payment.\\"The advantages of paying by credit card are that you will not get billed for the payment until you receive your statement and that your payment will be included in your card’s reward program,\\" says McCown. \\"Be aware, however, that both services will charge you a convenience fee for processing your income tax payment.\\"If you pay your taxes with a check or money order, you can wait until April 15 to send the payment. Be sure the check or money order is payable to either the United States Treasury for federal taxes or the Franchise Tax Board for state taxes.You will also need to be sure your name, address, daytime phone number, social security number and the words \\"2003 Form 1040\\" are on the check or money order for federal taxes. For California taxes, be sure the check or money order has your social security number and indicates the tax year (2003).

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