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Taxes: Paying with plastic


Anchor Intro: Are you filing your taxes electronically this year? If you are, and you happen to owe the IRS money ... chances are you'll be among those who'll pay with their credit cards. Bankrate.com has some advice on a less taxing option.

Voiceover 1: Filing taxes is a chore, but at least for most people, there's light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a refund.

SOT: "The average refund last year was $2,255 and about 75 percent of the taxpaying public gets a refund."

Voiceover 2: But if you owe and can't pay, what then? Lesson one is to always file on time ... even if you can't pay. Because not paying will cost you 0.5 percent per month. But if you don't file anything ... not even an extension ... the penalty is 10 times that: 5 percent per month.

Voiceover 3: So if you owe a $1,000, but don't pay, you'll owe Uncle Sam $5 a month until you send in what you owe. But if you don't file anything at all, that penalty is $50 a month.

Voiceover 4: So if you owe, file. And if you can't pay, consider options: the best, of course, is a loan from boss, family or friends. Next would be a signature loan from a credit union. Another idea is to work it out with the IRS.

SOT: "In those situations where you really don't have enough money to pay you can work out an installment agreement with the IRS."

Voiceover 5: And one final option: Reach for the plastic. This method might earn you frequent flier miles, but it will cost you: the convenience fee is typically around 2 ½ percent, plus whatever interest your bank charges.

Standup: If you think you're going to owe, start thinking now about the cheapest place to get money. But no matter what, always, a file a return ... or extension, by April 15th. For Bankrate.com, I'm Kristin Arnold.

-- Posted: April 5, 2008
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