Tackling an unexpected tax bill

March 01, 2019 by Selena Quintanilla
Man distressed with tax bill

At the start of this tax season many taxpayers didn't know what to expect when they filed their return. Would they get a refund or end up owing the government?  To date, the IRS has reported that the average tax refund is up 1.3% compared to 2018. However, not everybody is getting a refund. The IRS changed its withholding tables last year to account for the new tax law. This resulted in less tax being taken out of many Americans' paychecks  ─ and for some people, not enough money being withheld. Some taxpayers who would normally receive a refund are shocked to find that they now owe the IRS.  

If you are facing an unexpected tax bill, here are some things to keep in mind:  

Due Date(s)
Tax liabilities must be paid in full by Monday, April 15th, 2019, for most taxpayers. Taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts have until April 17th in honor of Patriot's Day and the Emancipation Day holiday. 

Payment Options 

The IRS offers the following payment options: 

  • IRS Direct Pay. Fees are deducted directly from the taxpayer's bank account for free. 
  • Credit and debit card payments. There will be an added fee for these transactions. 
  • Checks and money orders. These should be made out to the U.S Treasury. 
  • In-person payments. These can be made on a monthly or quarterly basis. 

Taxpayers who are unable to pay their tax bill in full should pay as much as possible to avoid interest and late-payment penalties. Payment plans specific to each taxpayer's situation may also be available.  

For details on the types of payment plans offered, and how to apply, please visit IRS.gov.  

Do a Paycheck Checkup 

Preparation is key. Ensuring that the correct amount of taxes is being withheld from your paycheck today can do away with unwelcome surprises next tax season. 



Selena Quintanilla, CTEC
Communications Associate


Selena Quintanilla is a Communications Associate at TaxAudit, and a California Tax Education Council (CTEC) registered tax professional. She is now on a mission to bring clarity and comprehensibility to a topic that keeps us all up at night at least once a year-TAXES! Please, send coffee! 


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