The IRS Never Debited My Tax Payment. Now What?

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  • Unpaid taxes for 2021 were due on April 18.
  • If you instructed the IRS to debit that money but the agency didn't, here's what you need to know.

Being late with tax payments could have consequences. But should you worry if the IRS isn't on time?

Most people who file a tax return end up collecting a refund. But you may have landed in the opposite situation.

If you don't have the money to pay a tax bill in full, the IRS will usually work with you by allowing you to get on an installment plan, where you pay that tax debt off over time. But what if you had the money in your bank account to cover your full 2021 tax debt, you instructed the IRS to debit that money on April 18 (the filing and payment deadline), and those funds still haven't been removed?

If that's the situation you're in, it may be unsettling -- but there's no need to panic.

Lags on the part of the IRS

Anyone who paid their full 2021 tax bill by April 18 was able to avoid interest and penalties on the sum they owed. As such, a lot of tax filers no doubt instructed the IRS to debit their tax debts on April 18 when they submitted their tax returns.

If you listed April 18 as your debit date but the money you owe the IRS is still sitting in your bank account, don't panic. There are reports that the IRS has been a few days behind in debiting accounts due to sheer volume. But as long as you listed April 18 as your debit date when you filed your tax return, you shouldn't worry about accruing interest and penalties on your tax bill.

After all, it's not your fault the IRS didn't take its money when it was supposed to. The agency can't penalize you for its own shortcomings.

Following up on your tax payment

If you told the IRS to take its tax payment out of your bank account on April 18, it may still take a day or two for that to happen. Also, some banks update more quickly than others, so perhaps your bank is a little slower to report pending transactions. As such, you don't have to worry if that money is still sitting in your bank account right now.

But if, come early next week, you still don't see those funds debited, then it pays to do some digging. Your best bet may be to call the IRS at 1-888-353-4537 and follow up on your payment.

Keep in mind that the IRS may not have information on your payment until seven to 10 days have passed since you submitted your tax return. If you got your return done at the last minute, it may be too soon to call right now.

Another thing you should know is that if you end up needing to speak to a live person about your payment situation, you could end up waiting a while. IRS wait times are generally long, but they're apt to be especially long given how close we are to the tax-filing deadline. That said, you may be able to resolve your issue without speaking to a live person by inputting your Social Security number and the amount of the payment you authorized and using the automated system.

Either way, your takeaway is that you shouldn't worry too much if you're not seeing your IRS payment debited from your account, even if you put down April 18 as your payment date. As long as you got your tax return in on time and authorized an April 18 debit, you shouldn't have to stress about penalties.

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