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Whether you prepare and file your income taxes with a professional CPA or use a DIY-friendly online tax program like H&R Block to save on prep fees, the end result should be about the same. You’ll either qualify for a refund or have an outstanding liability that needs to be settled if you want to stay on the government’s good side.
If you find yourself in the latter camp, as millions of Americans do every year, you’ll have another choice to make: how to settle up with the IRS and your state tax authorities.
Most taxpayers either choose to have these payments debited electronically from a bank account or cut checks to cover the balance. But some chart a different course: plastic.
Yes, these creative souls use credit cards to pay their taxes.
Best Credit Cards to Pay Your Taxes
Paying taxes with a credit card isn’t always ideal.
It requires a credit card with a high enough limit to cover the full balance owed. And it invariably involves processing fees (convenience fees) in the neighborhood of 1.5% to 2% of the transaction amount.
And for taxpayers without the means to pay off their balances before the interest rate kicks in? Well, paying taxes with a credit card can be a costly proposition, one that’s best avoided altogether.
But paying taxes with a credit card does make sense for certain taxpayers, especially those who’ve recently signed up for new cards with long 0% APR introductory promotions or generous sign-up bonuses (also known as new cardmember offers, welcome bonuses, or first-year bonuses).
If you’re among them — or hope to be soon — you need to know which cards to choose and which to avoid.
When it comes to covering your tax liabilities and paying the IRS, some credit card offers — and credit card issuers — are better than others. What follows is an overview of the top cards to pay your end-of-year and quarterly estimated taxes, segmented into four categories: cash-back, travel, low-APR, and small-business credit cards.
Bear in mind that most of these cards require a good credit score — and, in some cases, excellent credit — as well.
Best Cash-Back Credit Cards for Tax Payments
The most taxpayer-friendly cash-back cards have outsize sign-up bonuses and offer relatively high ongoing returns on spending — including on state and federal taxes — via generous cash rewards programs.
Check out our guide to the best cash-back credit cards for more ideas.
1. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Earn $200 After Spending $500 in Purchases in the First Three Months and 5% Back on Eligible Grocery Store Purchases During the First Year (Up to $12,000 Spent); Up to 5% Cash Back on Select Purchases
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card earns 1.5% cash back on most purchases, including tax payments, and a potentially extremely generous sign-up bonus (part of which runs through the entire first year of card membership) is a nice offset to your annual tax bill.
Plus, the very long 0% APR promotion on purchases ensures you won’t be liable for interest charges if you can’t pay off your tax payments right away.
- Sign-Up Bonus: Earn $200 bonus cash after you spend at least $500 in eligible purchases during the first three months your account is open. Plus, earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, not including grocery purchases at Target or Walmart.
- Earning Rewards: This card earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on most purchases. Certain purchases earn more, including travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel (5% back), drugstore and dining purchases (3% back), and Lyft purchases (5% back through March 2022).
- Redeeming Rewards: Redeem in any amount for statement credits, bank account deposits, direct purchases with third-party retailers like Amazon, travel, and more.
- Introductory APR: 0% introductory purchase APR for 15 months after account opening. Once the introductory promotion ends, variable regular APR applies — currently 14.99% to 23.74% APR.
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. Foreign transactions cost 3% of the total transaction amount.
2. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% Cash Back at U.S. Supermarkets and Select Digital Media Services; 3% at U.S. Gas Stations and Transit Operators (Including Rideshare); 1% Everywhere Else
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a premium supermarket credit card that also has a fantastic welcome offer for a cash-back card.
- Welcome Offer: Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on your card in the first 6 months of account opening, up to a maximum of $200 back. Plus, earn $150 back after you spend at least $3,000 on purchases within the first 6 months. Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
- Earning Rewards: Earn 6% cash back on select digital media and streaming services like Netflix and HBO and 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 in U.S. supermarket spending per year (then 1% cash back on supermarket purchases). Plus, earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit operators, including rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, and 1% cash back on everything else. Cash back accrues as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
- Redeeming Rewards: Redeem in $25 increments for statement credits or in variable amounts for gift cards and general merchandise.
- Introductory APR: 0% APR on purchases for 12 months, then variable regular APR applies (currently 13.99% to 23.99%). See the card’s rates and fees page.
- Key Fees: The annual fee is $95 after the first year. The foreign transaction fee is 2.7%. See the card’s rates and fees page.
3. Citi® Double Cash Card
Up to 2% Cash Back on Eligible Purchases
The Citi® Double Cash Card doesn’t have a sign-up bonus, but the effective 2% cash-back rate is a nice perk that can meaningfully slim down your tax bill. Just remember to redeem your cash back every year to avoid the 12-month expiration cliff.
- Sign-Up Bonus: None.
- Earning Rewards: Earn unlimited 1% cash back on purchases when they post to your account and another 1% cash back on all balance payments when you make at least the minimum payment each month. The effective cash-back rate is therefore 2%.
- Redeeming Rewards: Cash back expires after 12 months of account dormancy, defined as periods with no purchases or redemptions. To avoid expiration, redeem for statement credits once you have at least $25 in earned rewards.
- Introductory APR: 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then regular APR applies (13.99% to 23.99% variable, depending on creditworthiness and prevailing rates).
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 3%. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount.
Best Travel Credit Cards for Tax Payments
Like their cash-back counterparts, the best travel credit cards for tax payments have big sign-up bonuses and generous ongoing rewards programs.
Check out our guide to the best travel rewards credit cards for more ideas.
2 Points per $1 Spent on Dining & Travel; 5 Points Total per $1 Spent on Qualifying Lyft Rides Through March 2022
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a popular travel rewards credit card with one of the best sign-up bonuses in the category — one worth $1,250 when fully utilized. Use it to subsidize the out-of-pocket expense of your tax payments, then keep earning on everyday purchases until next tax season.
- Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after you spend at least $4,000 in eligible purchases within three months. This bonus is worth up to $1,250 when you redeem for travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or for statement credits against eligible purchases with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature.
- Earning Rewards: Earn unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on qualifying dining and travel purchases, and unlimited 1 point per $1 on all other eligible purchases. For a limited time (through March 2022), earn 5 points per $1 spent on qualifying Lyft rides and eligible Peloton equipment and accessory purchases (up to 25,000 total bonus points earned on Peloton purchases).
- Redeeming Rewards: The best way to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points is for travel purchases made through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal. This redemption method values points $0.0125 apiece, 25% more than normal. Through September 2021, redeem for statement credits against certain other types of purchases at grocery stores and restaurants using Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature to get the same great rate. Otherwise, redeem for cash, gift cards, or checks at a per-point value of $0.01.
- Introductory APR: None.
- Key Fees: The annual fee is $95. There’s no foreign transaction fee.
3 Points per $1 Spent on Dining & Travel Worldwide; $300 Annual Travel Credit
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card is a super-premium travel rewards credit card whose sign-up bonus is worth $900 when fully utilized — quite the offset for your end-of-year or quarterly tax payment.
And although it won’t help whittle down your tax burden any further, the $300 annual travel credit is a nice subsidy for the admittedly high annual fee.
- Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending at least $4,000 in qualifying purchases within three months. This bonus is worth up to $900 when redeemed for eligible travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
- Earning Rewards: Earn unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on qualifying dining and travel purchases. (Travel purchases earn points only after the $300 annual travel credit is exhausted.) Earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases, except Lyft purchases and eligible Peloton equipment and accessory purchases. Those earn 10 points per $1 spent through March 2022 (limit 50,000 total bonus point earnings for Peloton purchases).
- Redeeming Rewards: Redeem for travel purchases at the Ultimate Rewards portal to get a 50% boost in point value. Through September 2021, get the same rate when you redeem for statement credits against grocery stores and dining purchases using Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature. Other redemption options, such as bank account deposits and general statement credits, value points at $0.01 apiece.
- Introductory APR: None.
- Key Fees: The annual fee is $550. The authorized user fee is $75 per card, per year. There’s no foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%. Cash advances cost the greater of 5% or $10.
6. Capital One Venture® Rewards Credit Card
2x Miles Per Dollar on Every Purchase; For a Limited Time, Up to 100,000 Miles Early Spend Bonus (Worth $1,000)
The Capital One Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a premium travel rewards credit card with an amazing early spend bonus for taxpayers looking to front-load their point earnings.
Moving forward, enjoy benefits like a $100 credit against your Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee and favorable point transfer arrangements with participating travel loyalty partners.
- Early Spend Bonus: Spend $3,000 in the first three months to earn 60,000 bonus miles (worth $600 at redemption).
- Earning Rewards: Earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent on all eligible purchases.
- Redeeming Rewards: Redeem for statement credits against eligible travel purchases at a per-point value of $0.01 apiece.
- Introductory APR: None.
- Key Fees: There is a $95 annual fee. There’s no balance transfer fee or foreign transaction fee. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 3%.
7. The Platinum® Card from American Express
5x Membership Rewards Points (Up to 500,000 Earned Per Year) on Eligible Travel Purchases
This premium Amex product, popularly known as The Platinum® Card, has an excellent welcome offer with a manageable spending threshold.
Its ongoing rewards program isn’t half bad either, and it boasts an array of luxury perks to satisfy frequent travelers long after their taxes are paid, including an annual $200 airline fee credit with the airline of your choice and up to $200 in annual Uber credits (enrollment required for both – terms apply).
- Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending at least $5,000 within six months of opening your account. Separately, earn 10 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets during the first six months your account is open (up to $15,000 in combined category purchases).
- Earning Rewards: You’ll earn 5 Membership Rewards points (limit 500,000 points earned per year) for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases: flights booked directly with airlines, flights booked through American Express Travel, and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel.
- Redeeming Rewards: Redeem for travel, merchandise, gift cards, statement credits, services, experiences, and more at the Membership Rewards portal.
- Introductory APR: None.
- Key Fees: The annual fee is $550. There is no authorized user fee or foreign transaction fee. Late and returned payments cost up to $38. For more information, please visit the card’s rates and fees page.
Best Low-APR Interest Credit Cards for Tax Payments
Low-APR credit cards aren’t known for attractive rewards programs or luxurious value-added perks. They stand out with long 0% APR introductory promotions and regular APRs low enough to make short- and medium-term financing bearable. And all three of these cards have no annual fee.
Check out our guide to the best low-APR interest credit cards for more ideas.
8. Citi® Diamond Preferred®
0% APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 18 Months
Citi® Diamond Preferred® is renowned for its super-long 0% APR introductory period on balance transfers and purchases. After these promotional periods end, variable APR applies. Needless to say, that’s music to taxpayers’ ears.
- Sign-Up Bonus: None.
- Earning Rewards: This card doesn’t have a rewards program.
- Introductory APR: 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 18 months from account opening. Eligible balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening. After the introductory periods end, regular APR applies (currently 13.74% to 23.74% variable).
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee or late fee. Foreign transactions cost 3% of the total amount. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5% of the transferred amount.
Best Small-Business Credit Cards for Tax Payments
These taxpayer-friendly small-business credit cards have fantastic sign-up bonuses or introductory APR promotions and attractive ongoing rewards.
Check out our guide to the best small-business credit cards for more ideas. And if you need help determining the most advantageous legal structure for your business, review our guide to choosing the right legal business entity.
9. Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Massive Sign-Up Bonus; Good Travel Redemption Rate
The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a premium business credit card with an outsize sign-up bonus. For maximum effect, apply just before paying your end-of-year and April estimated taxes.
- Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points, worth up to $1,250 when redeemed for travel, on $15,000 in qualifying purchases within three months of account opening.
- Earning Rewards: Earn 3 points per $1 spent on qualifying travel, shipping, digital advertising, and telecom purchases up to the first $150,000 in annual spending across all categories. All other qualifying purchases, including tax payments, earn an unlimited 1 point per $1 spent.
- Redeeming Rewards: Points are generally worth $0.01 or less at redemption but command a value of $0.0125 when redeemed for travel.
- Introductory APR: None.
- Key Fees: The annual fee is $95. There is no foreign transaction fee.
10. American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 Months, Then 13.24% to 19.24% Variable Regular APR; 2% Cash Back on the First $50,000 in Eligible Purchases Each Year
The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card has one of the best 0% APR introductory promotions of any business credit card on the market, making it a great choice for business taxpayers who can’t pay off their estimated or end-of-year payments right away.
It also has a nice cash-back rate for low- to moderate-spending business owners.
- Welcome Offer: Earn a $250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in eligible purchases on your new card in the first 3 months. Terms apply.
- Earning Rewards: Earn 2% back on the first $50,000 in eligible purchases each year, including tax payments. Then earn unlimited 1% cash back on eligible purchases.
- Redeeming Rewards: Amex automatically applies accrued cash back to your account as a statement credit at the end of each billing period.
- Introductory APR: 0% APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening, then 13.24% to 19.24% variable, depending on your creditworthiness. See this card’s rates and fees for more details.
- Key Fees: There is no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 2.7%. See this card’s rates and fees for more details.
Settling your tax bill isn’t the only way to take advantage of a 0% APR promotion or new cardholder offer. It’s not even the best.
Other major purchases, like materials for a major home improvement project or tickets for a long-delayed vacation, will probably add more value to your life in the long run than sending in yet another pile of dough with your income tax return.
But paying your taxes with a credit card can pay off big time this tax season — with a clear plan to avoid unnecessary interest charges and the right card for the job, that is. Hopefully, you’ve found that card on this list.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please visit this rates and fees page.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this rates and fees page.
For rates and fees of the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, see this rates and fees page.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.