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IRS adds more locations to pay tax bills in cash

If you want to pay your taxes in cash, you now have more retail locations from which to choose. But make your choice soon. It takes days to set up a cash tax payment. If you dawdle, you could end making a late cash payment and owing Uncle Sam penalty and interest charges, too.

Cash in hand

Do you like paying by cash? Then you'll be thrilled by the Internal Revenue Service's latest tax payment move.

Ace Cash Express and Casey's General Stores across the country have joined 7-Eleven stores in offering a way for taxpayers to pay their tax bills with cash.

The cash payment option has been available at many 7-Eleven stores since 2016. As with that original cash option, Ace and Casey cash tax payments are processed through the IRS' partnership with ACI Worldwide's Official Payments and the PayNearMe Company.

But while it might be convenient, especially if you don't have a bank account or credit card, it does require some preparation. With the coronavirus-revised July 15 tax payment deadline fast approaching, if you want to use this payment method, you need to check into the specifics soon. Like now.

Also, you did see the word "processed" a couple of paragraphs ago, right? That means it will cost you some money beyond what you owe Uncle Sam to pay your taxes with cash.

Unbanked tax options: The IRS implemented the cash tax payment four years ago to make it easier for taxpayers who don't have a bank account or credit cards to meet their tax obligations.

And while cash may no longer be king, it's still a popular option for many. More than a quarter of consumers used cash in 2019 in their financial transactions, according to the Federal Reserve's Diary of Consumer Payment Choice analysis released in June of that year.

It also helps out the IRS. As IRS Wage and Investment Division Commissioner Ken Corbin noted in announcing the addition pay-by-cash partners, "This cash option lets people pay their taxes without having to make an appointment at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center."

That's a help since the face-to-face locations, known as TACs, have been closed most of this tax season due to IRS COVID-19 precautions.

Locate private stores instead: So instead of trying to track down a possibly reopened (or not yet) TAC, taxpayers who want to pay their taxes in cash can find a 7-Eleven, Ace or Casey's location.

It's pretty easy to do. Just click on the IRS' online map of participating locations. If you've enabled location detection on your browser (FYI, it probably was done automatically, but Google et al spying on is for another discussion), the link will open to a map of your area.

Below is a look at all the places I can go to in the greater Austin, Texas, area to pay my tax bill in cash.

IRS pay by cash retailer map Austin area

Preparing to pay by cash: But before you head out to your nearest pay tax by cash retailer, there are a few things you need to know.

There is a $1,000 payment limit per day. So if you owe more than a grand and want to pay by cash, it'll take more than one visit.

Paying your taxes by cash also will cost you an additional $3.99 fee per transaction.

And finally, it's not an immediate payment process. It involves multiple steps, so if you want to pay this way, the IRS advises you get started well ahead of the tax deadline so you won't end up paying late and facing interest and penalty charges, too.

Sort of specifically, the IRS says the who pay by cash process takes the IRS says takes five to seven days to complete. So if you want to use it, you best get started now, since the ol' blog's countdown clock there in the right column says as of this post, you have just 12 days and a few hours, and it's still ticking, to meet your 2019 tax obligation.

Here are the four steps to pay taxes by cash.

Step 1: First, go to the Official Payments website and follow the instructions to make a cash payment with PayNearMe. You have to search a bit to find it. The PayNearMe option is in the Extras drop-down tab. 

Step 2: Once you've done that, you'll receive an email from Official Payments confirming your information. The IRS will then verify your information. This process may take two to three days.

Step 3: After the IRS verifies your information, PayNearMe will then send you an email with a link to your payment code and instructions. Either print the payment code at home or send it to your smart phone.

Now, finally, after completing these three steps, you're finally ready to pay your taxes with cash.

Step 4: Go to the retail store listed in the PayNearMe email and ask the clerk to scan or enter your payment code. Hand over your cash and voilà! You're done.

Post-payment moves: The store clerk will give you a receipt for your cash tax payment. That receipt is confirmation that you fulfilled your tax payment obligation, so keep it with your other tax records.

And while it seems automatic once the cash transaction is completed at the store, it actually takes around two business days for your payment to post to your IRS account.

So again, the IRS urges that you make your payment in plenty of time before your due date to avoid interest and penalties.

Finally, if you do have an issue with your cash tax payment, don't call the IRS. Instead, contact PayNearMe customer service, tollfree at (888) 714-0004, to resolve any problems.

While I'm sure the process works fine at the newly-added Ace and Casey's locations, if I used the cash tax payment method, I'd personally pop into a 7-Eleven. Rewarding myself with a Slurpee after taking care of my annual tax obligation this way just seems fitting.

Slurpee 7-Eleven 7-11

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