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IRS won't accept checks of $100 million or more

Tax Check to IRS
Yeah, this image is (sadly) amusing, but a quick, real tax payment note. Make your check or money order, as long as it's not for an astronomical amount, payable to U.S. Treasury, not the Internal Revenue Service.

Are you going to have to pay Uncle Sam tomorrow? Is your due tax a lot? A whole lot?

If your tax bill is very — and I mean VERY — big, you won't be able to send the U.S. Treasury a check.

Specifically, the Internal Revenue Service warns those who are extraordinarily deep in tax debt that it can't take a single check for $100 million or more.

Really. The limit is spelled out on Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, in the filing (but not paying) extension package's How To Make A Payment Section, shown below. The red highlighting was added by me.

Form 4868 100 million payment limit
See more tax forms and more about them at Talking Tax Forms.

If you're reading this on a small mobile device, here's the scoop directly from Form 4868:

No checks of $100 million or more accepted. The IRS can't accept a single check (including a cashier's check) for amounts of $100,000,000 ($100 million) or more. If you're sending $100 million or more by check, you'll need to spread the payment over two or more checks with each check made out for an amount less than $100 million. The $100 million or more amount limit doesn't apply to other methods of payment (such as electronic payments). Please consider a method of payment other than check if the amount of the payment is $100 million or more

I love how the IRS tries to nudge folks who owe a nine-numeral (or more) tax bill toward paying by some "other method," notably an e-payment.

What the…: I also have a couple of questions.

First, why the $100 million limit?

Second, and more intriguing, who in the heck did this, prompting the federal agency to set that dollar limit?

That ginormous tax bill check payment limit definitely earns this weekend's By the Numbers honor.

If any tax historian knows the answer to either or both questions, let us know by leaving a comment. I'll be doing some searching, after April 18, and let you know if I find anything.

Paying smaller tax bills: I hope as you're finishing up your 2021 tax year return, you don't discover you owe Uncle Sam taxes. If you do, I hope it's an amount you can handle paying, in installments if not in a lump sum.

In either case, these earlier posts might be able to help: Ways to pay your tax bill and Ways to pay a surprisingly large tax bill.








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chris dorf

In the United States, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to "lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States. This is also referred to as the "Taxing and Spending Clause."

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