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Quick Points: Earn points, miles and cash back while doing your taxes

March 18, 2022
6 min read
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Tax season is here. If you're looking to maximize the points, miles and cash back you earn -- and maybe even earn some elite-qualifying Loyalty Points -- while doing your taxes, there are several things to consider.

First, if you're looking to use software to prepare your own taxes, you'll want to check online shopping portals and credit card merchant offers before settling on a service. Even if you're using a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or accounting firm, you'll want to consider paying your taxes with a credit card. So, let's dive in.

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Check portals and merchant offers

There are many tax software packages on the market that you may want to use to prepare your taxes, and there are currently some excellent offers for select tax software providers through online shopping portals.

I recommend using a shopping portal aggregator like CashbackMonitor to quickly compare the choices. For example, here are the options at the time of writing for TaxSlayer:

(Screenshot from cashbackmonitor.com)

You could earn 25 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent if you click through Rakuten before making a purchase with TaxSlayer — a 50% return based on TPG valuations. Or you could earn 8 Loyalty Point-eligible AAdvantage miles if you click through the American Airlines shopping portal.

It's also worth checking your Amex Offers, Citi Merchant Offers, Chase Offers, BankAmeriDeals, U.S. Bank cash-back deals and SimplyMiles offers before making your purchase. While writing this story, I saw the following on my accounts:

The offers on your accounts may be different from mine. But, you may be able to stack shopping portal earnings with one of these credit card merchant offers. Just be sure to enroll in the offer before making your purchase and read the fine print.

Related: Will you pay taxes if you cash out all your points?

Use the right credit card

(Photo by kitzcorner/Shutterstock)

If you're paying tax preparation fees, consider using one of the best everyday spending cards when you do so. After all, payments to most accounting firms and CPAs won't code in a way that fits into the bonus categories found on most rewards credit cards.

If you owe federal taxes this year, you may also want to pay your taxes with a credit card. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses the following three third-party payment processors for tax payments by credit card:

  • Pay1040: 1.87% fee (minimum fee of $2.50).
  • payUSAtax: 1.96% fee (minimum fee of $2.69).
  • ACI Payments, Inc.: 1.98% fee (minimum fee of $2.50).

As you can see, you'll need to pay a fee to pay with a credit card. But, depending on the card you're using, it could be worthwhile, especially if you're currently working toward earning a card's welcome bonus or meeting a spending threshold.

For example, I may use my World of Hyatt Credit Card for my federal tax payment this spring. Doing so would help me spend $15,000 this calendar year on my card, which would give me six qualifying night credits (two for every $5,000 of spending) and an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort. Or, I could use an American Airlines credit card to earn American Airlines miles and Loyalty Points.

Using the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card — both would earn 2 Capital One miles per dollar spent — could also be compelling options. After all, you'll pay a 1.87% fee if you use Pay1040, but you'd get a 3.7% return on your spending based on TPG's valuation of Capital One miles at 1.85 cents each — a net 1.83% return on your tax payment.

We recommend that you avoid paying with a credit card through one of the integrated IRS e-file and e-pay service providers, as those carry higher fees. Also, don't charge your tax bill to your credit card if you won't be able to pay your balance in full once it becomes due.

Related: Are tax payments with my credit card considered a cash advance?

Bottom line

Preparing your taxes can be stressful, but at least you can pick up some extra rewards along the way.

There are portal and merchant offers for many popular tax software packages. And although paying your federal taxes with a credit card will incur a fee, the fee may be worth paying. After all, most of the best cards for everyday spending will still put you ahead even after the fee. Paying taxes with a credit card can also be a great way to meet minimum spending thresholds for a bonus or perk.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases