How to Pay the Tax for Estate Form 706

The IRS generally loves the concept of electronic filing for just about everything, but the estate tax return is one return you can’t submit online. You must file Form 706 nine months after the decedent’s date of death, on paper, by snail mail.

Send the completed tax form to Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Cincinnati, OH 45999. Use either certified mail or a private delivery service that can provide you with documentation. The IRS accepts the following delivery services:

  • DHL Express (DHL): DHL Same Day Service

  • Federal Express (FedEx): Fed Ex Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day, Fed Ex International Priority, FedEx International First

  • United Parcel Service (UPS): UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express

Be sure to get written proof of the mailing date from the delivery service because that day is considered the date of filing and of payment of the tax.

You have three options for paying the estate tax:

  • Check, bank draft, or money order: Make it payable to “United States Treasury.” Be sure to include on the check the decedent’s name, Social Security number, and the words “Form 706” to indicate to the IRS what tax you’re paying and for whom.

  • Electronic submission: Pay electronically though the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), a free service of the Department of Treasury. Payments must be completed by 8 p.m. EST the day before they’re due and must be scheduled in advance of the due date. Call 1-800-555-4477 for more information about EFTPS.

    Paying through EFTPS is relatively painless, but it does take some time to set up the account with the IRS. If you’re planning on paying the estate tax on the due date, plan at least two full weeks prior to initiate opening your account. The IRS will send you the security information to complete your account by U.S. mail.

  • Credit card or debit card: Go to www.irs.gov and enter “pay taxes by credit card” in the search box. Clicking on the first search result gives you a list of all the service providers you may use, their fees, and their websites and telephone numbers.

    Be aware that the IRS convenience fees for credit card payments can be substantial (between 1.89 and 2.35 percent of the tax payment). You may find it much more prudent to make sure that you have the funds available to write a check or pay electronically than to explain to the heirs or a judge reviewing your estate accounting why you incurred the convenience fee.

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