No one likes paying taxes to Uncle Sam, but its something Americans must do every year on April 15. If you’re like most frequent flyers, you’re looking for ways to earn a few miles for paying your share. Here’s some advice to help you maximize your earnings at tax time and a warning about why paying taxes with a credit card is usually not the best idea.
Earn Miles for Buying Tax Prep Software
Lets start with the easiest way to earn a few miles for paying taxes. If you plan to prepare your taxes using an off-the-shelf tax prep software package, be sure to buy it through an online shopping portal that offers miles per dollar spent.
Note that the payout changes all the time so be sure to check all the options to determine which is best for you. Visit EVReward, which aggregates the earning rates from a variety of shopping portals so you can decide which portal offers the most miles.
Some of the best options for buying TurboTax and HR Block Online right now are below.
|Southwest||1,000 points per purchase|
|Hilton HHonors||11 points per dollar|
|Marriott Rewards||10 points per dollar|
|Hawaiian Airlines||7.5 miles per dollar|
Using the portals above will take you directly to TurboTax for your purchase. Many office supply stores, software resellers, and big box shops also sell packages from TurboTax. It pays to shop around for the best price and mileage payout before making your purchase.
H&R Block Online
|Hilton HHonors||15 points per dollar|
|Marriott Rewards||15 points per dollar|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||10 points per dollar|
|American Airlines||12 miles per dollar|
|Southwest||7 points per dollar|
|Delta||6 miles per dollar|
|US Airways||6 miles per dollar|
|United Airlines||5 miles per dollar|
|Hawaiian Airlines||3.5 miles per dollar|
Earning Miles for Paying Your Taxes with a Credit or Debit Card
While the United States Internal Revenue Service does not accept credit card payments, you can pay your tax bill using a third-party service.
Generally speaking, you do not want to pay your federal or state income taxes with a credit card unless you are desperate to meet some minimum spend requirements. Even then, realize that you’ll pay quite a bit out of pocket for the privilege of paying taxes with a credit card.
The fact of the matter is that the services facilitating tax payments with credit cards are quite costly. For example, PayUSATax.com levies a 1.89% fee for credit card payments (2.29% if you use a Visa). If you pay with a debit card though, you’ll only get hit with a $3.49 flat fee. Likewise, Pay1040.com will run you 1.87% of your total payment if you pay with a credit card or a $2.59 flat fee when paying with a debit card.
So, if your tax bill is $5,000 and you use a MasterCard credit card via PayUSATax.com, the fee would be $94.50. Assuming your credit card pays out one mile for every dollar spent, you’d earn 5,095 miles. That’s a cost of nearly two cents for each mile, which is not a terrific value.
The flat fee for paying with a debit card isn’t bad, but very few banks offer debit cards that reward you with miles. SunTrust Bank did offer a Delta debit card, but they stopped opening new accounts. However, if you’re lucky enough to have a reward debit card like SunTrust’s, it could make sense to use it to pay your taxes.