The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) is a free tool provided by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for processing all sorts of federal tax payments
EFTPS can be a convenient way to make payments to the IRS because it’s available 365 days per year, 24 hours per day, and the federal government will debit your bank account without any processing fees.
Here’s what you need to know about enrolling in EFTPS and making tax payments.
What is the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System?
EFTPS is a free tool offered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury that individuals and businesses can use to pay income, employment, and federal excise taxes.
Individuals, however, can choose to make income and self-employment tax payments by check, credit card, or the Internal Revenue Service’s Direct Pay system (available at IRS.gov).
But corporations generally have to use an electronic funds transfer (EFT) to make all federal tax deposits, including federal income taxes, income and payroll taxes withheld from employee paychecks, federal excise taxes, the employer’s share of Social Security and Medicare tax, and payments toward an installment agreement. EFTPS is the easiest way to do this.
Why Should I Use EFTPS?
Even if your small business isn't required to use EFTPS, there are several benefits to doing so, such as:
- You can pay taxes online 24/7. Whether you’re at home, in the office, or on the go, if you can log into EFTPS.gov, you can make a tax payment 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
- The website is secure. Whenever you provide sensitive financial information over the internet, you want to know your data is secure. The IRS EFTPS site keeps user data safe by requiring a three-step identification process each time you log into the site.
- You can schedule payments up to one year in advance. EFTPS allows users to schedule tax payments up to 365 days in advance, which is helpful for quarterly estimated tax payments. You can also cancel scheduled payments as long as there are more than two business days before the payment is scheduled to be drafted from your bank account.
- You’ll receive immediate confirmation of your payment. When you send a check to the IRS through the mail, you just have to hope it doesn’t get lost in transit. When you pay electronically, you’ll receive an immediate email confirmation that your payment went through and an acknowledgment number you can use to track the payment down later, if necessary. You can also check your payment history online.
How to Enroll in EFTPS Payments
The one drawback of using EFTPS is how long it takes to get started. Due to the extensive security protocols in place, registering to use the system can take several days. Here’s how it works:
- Gather your information. To enroll, you need your business’s Employer Identification Number (or your Social Security number or taxpayer identification number (TIN) if you don't have an EIN), the routing number and account number for your financial institution, and the name and address that appeared on your last filed tax return.
- Enroll online. The first time you go to EFTPS.gov, select “Enroll.” Accept the legal notice, then select “Business” to enroll your business or “Individual” to enroll yourself. Enter the requested information and hit “Submit.”
- Get your PIN and password. Within about one week, the IRS will send you a personal identification number (PIN) in the mail. Once you receive your PIN, go back to EFTPS.gov and click on “Need a Password.” Log in with your EIN or SSN and PIN. Verify your banking information or your enrollment number (which appears on your PIN letter) and select “Next.” You’ll be prompted to create a new internet password.
- Make a payment. Once you have your PIN and password, you can log into your account and select “Make a Payment.” Follow the on-screen instructions to enter your payment information, select a payment date, and complete the process. You can also make payments over the phone by calling EFTPS customer service at 1-800-555-3453 and following the prompts to make your payment.
The IRS allows businesses to make some — but not all — tax payments on the day they’re due. To be eligible for same-day processing, your payment must be $100,000 or less and you have to submit it prior to 3 p.m. EST on a business day.
If your payment doesn’t meet the criteria above, you’ll need to schedule your payment at least one calendar day before the tax due date by 8 p.m. EST in order for your payment to be processed on time.
Avoiding EFTPS Scams
Millions of individuals and businesses use EFTPS each day to make federal tax payments. And whenever there are big dollars involved, there’s sure to be scammers trying to take advantage of the situation.
In the past, the IRS has warned taxpayers about email scams involving EFTPS. In one scam, taxpayers received an email claiming that the electronic tax payments they made through the system were rejected and directing them to retry their payment by clicking on a link. Clicking on the link resulted in malicious malware being installed on the recipient’s computer.
To avoid falling prey to a similar scam, the IRS recommends that you never click on any links, open attachments, or reply to senders of unsolicited emails about your taxes — whether they appear to come from the U.S. Treasury Department, EFTPS, the IRS, or another source.
If you’re worried about a tax payment being rejected, go directly to EFTPS.gov and log into your account. Since the system provides up to 16 months of payment history, you should be able to spot any issues by reviewing your account.
Getting Help with the Electronic Federal Tax Payments System
The U.S. Department of Treasury offers several ways to get help with making payments or getting help with the EFTPS website.
- To make a payment via the voice response system, call 1-800-555-3453
- To speak to a customer service rep, call 1-800-555-4477
- For hearing-impaired taxpayers, TDD customer service is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at 1-800-733-4829
Check out the Contact Us page at EFTPS.gov for additional information.
These are some of the most-asked questions about the Electronic Federal Payment System.
What is the difference between Direct Pay and EFTPS?
Direct Pay and EFTPS are both electronic payment tools offered by the IRS. However, EFTPS is available for paying both business taxes and individual taxes. Direct Pay, on the other hand, can only be used for making payments toward individual tax returns.
Also, Direct Pay caps payments at $10 million while there is no limit to the amount you can send using EFTPS.
Is there a cost for using EFTPS?
No. The Treasury Department does not charge taxpayers a fee for using EFTPS. Anyone can use it free of charge after setting up an account.
How long does it take to enroll in EFTPS online?
Completing the online enrollment process should take just a few minutes. However, it may take the Treasury Department up to five days to process your enrollment. It can take another few days to receive your confirmation materials and PIN via mail. For that reason, you should start the enrollment process at least two weeks prior to your payment due date to ensure you’re able to make your payment on time.
Let’s Wrap it Up
Because the EFTPS enrollment process takes a few days, it isn’t a good solution when you need to make a tax payment right away — at least not if you don’t already have an account.
Still, the security and convenience of electronic payments make it worth going through the registration process. Once you’re set up, the system remembers your information, which makes any future payments that much easier.
And if you’d rather not deal with the EFTPS system at all, your tax professional or payroll service provider can make deposits via EFTPS on your behalf. With Hourly, all your taxes are filed automatically, so you won’t have to worry about EFTPS.