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How to File a Form 1040-V Payment Voucher

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In a Nutshell

IRS Form 1040-V is a payment voucher that taxpayers often send when submitting payments to the Internal Revenue Service. This form shows the amount they're paying. This article will explore when to use a 1040-V, exactly how to fill out a 1040-V, and alternative payment options that don't require a 1040-V.

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated June 5, 2021

IRS Form 1040-V is a payment voucher that taxpayers often send when submitting payments to the Internal Revenue Service. This form shows the amount they're paying. This article will explore when to use a 1040-V, exactly how to fill out a 1040-V, and alternative payment options that don't require a 1040-V. 

When Should I Use The 1040-V?

You should always use Form 1040-V when you choose to pay your personal income taxes by mail. Even if you e-file your 1040, you should use the 1040-V if you pay by mail. When paying by mail, taxpayers can only pay by personal check, money order, or cashier's check. Never send cash when paying by mail. Do not use the 1040-V if you pay by cash in person or if you make an electronic payment. Always file the Form 1040-V for the correct filing year. 

Form 1040-V may be filed at a different time than your tax return. For example, if you request an extension for filing your tax return, you will still need to pay at least 90% of the balance due on the due date. That’s May 17 in 2021. Though you wouldn’t be filing your individual income tax return (Form 1040) yet, you would still need to file Form 1040-V on May 17, 2021. If you still owe a balance on October 15 and you file your 1040 on that day, you would file another 1040-V for the remaining balance. You could use the 1040-V to make partial payment amounts up to 120 days after you file. If you need more time, you should stop using the 1040-V and try an installment agreement. An installment agreement is a payment plan you can use to catch up on back taxes.  

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How Do I Fill Out The 1040-V?

Make sure the tax year on the top right side of your Form 1040-V is the same as the tax year on the Form 1040 you're paying for. In Box 1, enter your Social Security number (SSN). If you filed a joint return with a spouse, you will need to enter both SSNs. The SSNs must be entered in the same order they were entered on your 1040. The second SSN entered on your Form 1040 will be the one entered in Box 2. The same rules apply to other annual tax forms in the 1040 series, such as the 1040-SR and the 1040-NR.

Box 3 is where you’ll enter the amount you're paying. It should match the amount on your check or money order. If you're paying in full, this total should also match the amount you owe on Line 37 of your 1040. Box 4 is where you’ll enter your names and addresses. These should be entered in the same order as on your 1040. The names and addresses should appear exactly as they did on your 1040.

The Internal Revenue Service has very specific requirements for writing a check or money order. First, the check should be made out to “United States Treasury.” Do not make your check out to the IRS. Make sure your address is on your check or money order. Put your daytime phone number and Social Security number on the check. If you have an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), you can put it on the check instead of the Social Security number. If you filed a joint return, enter the information of the first spouse listed on your 1040 only. 

Put the tax year and the tax form number on the check. For example, write “2020 Form 1040” in the memo line. Write the amount on the check using this format: $x,xxx.xx. Do not use a format like $x,xxx xx/100, or any other variation from the required format. Do not staple the check to the 1040-V. When you have your check and 1040-V ready, mail it to the address shown on the back of the form for your particular state. 

Payment Options That Don’t Require A 1040-V

There are more convenient methods to pay the Internal Revenue Service that don't require a Form 1040-V. The Internal Revenue Service has multiple options for paying electronically or by cash. Paying by cash may not sound very convenient until you realize you can pay at your nearest 7-Eleven, CVS, or Dollar General. These electronic, debit/credit card, and retail-cash payments are more secure than sending a payment by mail. As a bonus, you will have proof of payment with these methods. With mail, the payment can always be lost, leaving you with no proof that you tried to pay what you owe.

Electronic Payment Methods

You can pay your taxes using IRS Direct Pay on the IRS website. With Direct Pay, the money comes out of your checking or savings account. You can't use a debit or credit card, only your bank account information. Direct Pay is a free service available to individuals. Businesses can’t use IRS Direct Pay. You can't make more than two payments to the Internal Revenue Service through Direct Pay in a single day. The payment may not come out of your account immediately. It may take up to two business days. Payments made after 8:00 PM Eastern Time won't process until the next business day. You can get a confirmation number to track your payment so you'll know when it posts to your account.

The other electronic payment method is the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). Unlike IRS Direct Payment, you have to register to use EFTPS. EFTPS can be used by individuals or businesses. As with Direct Pay, the money comes out of your bank account.

Pay By Debit Or Credit Card

You can pay the Internal Revenue Service by credit or debit card, but the IRS doesn't handle these transactions. Third-party processors complete these payments. Though the Internal Revenue Service doesn't charge a fee for using debit or credit cards, the processors do. The available processing companies are PayUSAtax, Pay1040, and ACI Payments. While the fees are low for debit cards, using a credit card can get expensive if your payment amount is substantial. For example, if you pay $10,000 in taxes by debit card, the processing fee will amount to $2.55 to $3.95. If you make the same $10,000 payment using a credit card it will cost you a processing fee of $196.00 to $199.00.

Cash Payments

You can pay the IRS in person with cash at some Internal Revenue Service offices, but that's not a very convenient way to pay. The better way to pay cash is to use the PayNearMe or the Pay with Cash / Vanilla Direct programs at a retail location near you. 

PayNearMe is available at 7-Eleven, CVS, Family Dollar Store, Casey's General Store, and Ace Cash Express. There's a $3.99 fee per payment to use this service. You can pay up to $1,000 per day through this service.

Pay with Cash / Vanilla Direct is available at Dollar General, Family Dollar, CVS, Walgreens, Pilot Flying, 7-Eleven, Speedway, Kum & Go, Stripes, Royal Farms, and Gomart. The fee is only $1.50 to use this service. You can pay up to $500 per transaction and you're allowed up to two transactions per day. 

Let’s Summarize…

If you’re sending your tax payment by mail, you need to send the Form 1040-V payment voucher with it. It’s a short form that shows the IRS how to apply your payment.

You don’t have to send your payment via mail. You could pay electronically, from your bank account, through IRS Direct Pay, or EFTPS. You can pay via debit or credit card. Or, you can pay cash at a retail location through PayNearMe or Pay With Cash / Vanilla Direct. Since these payment methods don’t use mail, they don’t require a 1040-V.

Written By:

Lawyer John Coble


John Coble has practiced as both a CPA and an attorney. John's legal specialties were tax law and bankruptcy law. Before starting his own firm, John worked for law offices, accounting firms, and one of America's largest banks. John handled almost 1,500 bankruptcy cases in the eig... read more about Lawyer John Coble

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