If you’ve got an outstanding bill with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), you can use your credit card to pay it. Standard credit card processing fees apply but differ depending on your merchant and card type.
While it’s not recommended to pay for one debt with another, it’s helpful to know you can use a credit card. Plus, if you have a card that allows it, you can even earn rewards points.
Fees for ATO card payments
The ATO charges different fees depending on the payment network and type of card you use.
For example, if your tax bill is $3,000 and you’re paying with a Mastercard credit card, there will be a $21.60.
How to pay ATO with a credit card
MyGov is the home of all your government services — tax, superannuation, HELP debt, Medicare, and more. It’s a convenient way to pay your ATO bills, check notifications, and stay up to date with your responsibilities.
To make a payment, you’ll need the Payment Reference Number (PRN) or Electronic Funds Transfer Code (EFT). Payments made online take up to four days to process.
If preferred, you can even set up an automatic direct debit from your credit card.
You can also pay directly through your bank with the PRN and ATO Biller Code (75556). If you prefer to do it over the phone, you can make the payment by calling your bank.
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EasyPay is a secure website of the Reserve Bank of Australia.
To pay your bill, go straight to ‘make a payment’ without logging into MyGov or your bank — you just need the PRN and the total amount due. You can also call EasyPay on 1300 898 809.
Other payment methods
There are alternative ways to pay the ATO, but you can’t use a credit card. Those options include:
- Electronic transfer
- Paying in person at Australia Post by cash, EFTPOS or cheque
- Physical mail with a cheque or money order.
However, the ATO recommends paying online, as they’re phasing out cash and cheques.
How to earn reward points on tax bills
There are two ways to build your credit card rewards points: Sign-up offers that come with a welcome bonus or through ongoing spending.
While you can access thousands of points instantly to your account with a welcome bonus, it takes time to add points with everyday spending — unless it is a big transaction, such as a tax bill.
Not all credit cards allow you to earn points on government transactions, so it’s necessary to check the list of ‘eligible purchases.’ Westpac, for example, excludes ATO payments, but American Express cards reward them.
For eligible cards, here’s how it works. If you have a credit card that earns one point per dollar, you’d need to spend $5,000 to get 5,000 points. So, if your tax bill is $5,000, you’d earn 5,000 points. If you pay your credit card in full before the end of the month, you won’t pay interest.
There are also providers, that allow you to earn points on ATO bills without needing a specific card. Examples include:
Should you pay taxes with a credit card?
It depends on a number of factors and your financial situation. Here are some pros and cons to consider.
- Convenience. Paying the ATO with a credit card is a convenient way to clear your debt.
- Gives you more time. You can leverage your credit card’s interest-free period (usually 55 days) to give yourself more time to cover the cost of the ATO payment.
- Rewards. Depending on your card, you even have the potential to earn rewards.
- Higher processing fees. Using a credit card results in a higher processing fee than using a debit card.
- Eats into your credit limit. Depending on the amount you owe and the size of your credit limit, the payment could max out your credit card, leaving no room for emergencies.
- Interest charges. If you don’t repay the statement balance in time, you could face interest charges and added fees.
Alternative options for paying ATO debt
As with all things financial, don’t ignore your ATO debt. Interest is tacked onto all unpaid tax so it’s best to tackle it head-on. If you don’t have the funds or available credit, you can set up a payment plan with the ATO via MyGov.
You could weigh up the costs of applying for a low-rate personal loan or asking a family member to loan you money. If you need to, reach out to the National Debt Hotline for support in prioritising your repayments and building a savings habit.
Just like debt, small savings compound over time. Set up a separate ‘tax’ account and put a small percentage of every pay in there — anywhere from 1% to 20%. The goal is to take the stress out of tax time by making small contributions to a savings account every month.
Frequently asked questions about ATO credit card payments
An ATO credit card payment is not considered a cash advance. But, if you have a tax payment and you want to withdraw money from your credit card into cash to then pay the bill, it will incur a cash advance fee — around 3% of the transaction, up to a maximum of $300 if you’re with CommBank. If your tax bill is $2,000 and you withdraw this from your credit card, the cash advance fee is $60.
ATO credit card payments may earn rewards depending on which card you have. Check if your credit card rewards program explicitly states you can earn points on payments made to the ATO. For example, CommBank Awards are earned on ATO payments made using a Business Awards Card.