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Time to open your EFTPS account

Every time it gets close to tax payment time, I promise I'm going to remind folks that if they want to pay electronically, they need to set up an account with the IRS in advance.

It's that time again!

In less that two weeks, Sept. 15 to be exact, estimated tax payment #3 for the 2010 tax year is due.

Eftps_screen_shot (2) As I've done for the last few years, I will sign on to my Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) account and enter the amount I want transferred from my checking account to the IRS.

I find this very handy. You can even schedule advance payments and be done with your taxes for the year. All you have to worry about is making sure you have enough in the bank to go to send to the IRS, but that's always been an issue.

Old school set-up: Setting up an EFTPS account isn't hard, but there's one small obstacle. To get access to the online payment service, you need a personal identification number, or PIN.

But unlike the PINs you get for your ATM, debit or credit card, you don't get to select it; the IRS gives you a number .

And the IRS sends that PIN to you via the U.S. Postal Service.

It used to take about two weeks for the agency to snail mail you your PIN. Now the EFTPS website says it'll get the log-on number in a week.

So you still have time to set up an account if you want to pay your September estimated tax amount via EFTPS.

EFTPS scam alert: Like every other part of our electronic lives, our taxes are prime targets for criminals.

Most of the time, crooks are trying to steal our identities, not to mention our refunds, during tax-filing. But they've branched out.

Since so many of us pay taxes year-round, ID thieves are working overtime, too.

The IRS says season criminals are In fact, the IRS says it recently became aware of a fraudulent scheme targeting EFTPS users. Targets get an e-mail that claims their tax payment was rejected and directs them to a website for additional information.

As per usual phishing scams, the fake IRS website contains malware that will attempt to infect your computer, giving criminals access to the private info you have there.

When you get a suspicious tax e-mail any time of the year, it's a scam. The IRS doesn't communicate with taxpayers that way.

Ignore the message and forward it to [email protected].

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I was really surprised with your EFTPs scam alert, I was not really aware with it, and thanks, I must be very careless about it..

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