Do Taxes Affect Your Credit?

If you're like most Americans, you probably pay your taxes every year. So, you might be wondering does paying your taxes build credit, or does failing to pay taxes affect your credit score? This post provides you with everything you need to know about how paying your taxes or failing to pay your taxes affects your credit.

Does Paying Taxes Build Credit?

No, paying taxes does not build credit because your tax payments are not reported to the credit reporting bureaus. Therefore, paying your taxes on time will have no effect on your credit score. Also, failing to pay your taxes on time has no direct impact on your credit score because your payments are not reported to the credit reporting bureaus.

Although paying taxes has no direct impact on your credit score, it could have an indirect impact on your credit score.

For example, if you are having difficulty paying for your taxes out of pocket, and you use your credit card to make your tax payment, if you don't pay the minimum payment on your credit card when its due, a late payment notation is added to your credit report, significantly lowering your credit score.

Late Payment Marks

Late payments are negative marks that are added to your accounts when you fail to pay the minimum payment on your credit card. If a late payment mark is added to your credit report, it could cause a significant drop in your credit score.

Late payments remain on your credit report for 7 years from the date you missed your payment. After the 7 year period, the late payment mark is automatically removed from your credit report.

So, if you do decide to use your credit card to pay your taxes, you should make sure to make at least the minimum payment on time to avoid your credit card payment from being reported as late.

If you have the money in your checking account, you should consider paying directly from your checking account to avoid the convenience fees that the IRS charges for using a credit card.

Credit Card Interest

Not only will you be liable for paying the convenience fees, but if you don't pay off your credit card at the end of your billing cycle, your card issuer will charge you interest on the money you've borrowed using your credit card.

Credit card interest rates are very high, ranging from 15% to 30% for some credit cards, making them very expensive to use for paying tax bills. So, you should consider the amount of interest you will have to pay on the balance before using your credit card to pay your taxes.

Credit Utilization

Another thing to keep in mind when using a credit card is that charging your taxes to your credit card can potentially increase your credit utilization. Your credit utilization refers to how much of your available credit you're using. The higher your credit utilization, the lower your credit score will be.

If you plan on immediately paying off your credit card, this isn't something you should spend too much time thinking about. But, if you plan on leaving a balance on your credit card, you should consider how much of your available credit you will be utilizing.

As a rule of thumb, you should keep your credit utilization below 10% and never exceed 30% utilization. If you exceed 30% credit utilization, you will notice a significant drop in your credit score.

For example, if you have a $10,000 credit limit, and you use your credit card to pay a tax bill of $4,500, your credit utilization would be 45%, which places you above the 30% credit utilization, causing your credit score to drop.

So, consider your credit utilization before using a credit card to pay your taxes.

Does Failing to Pay Your Taxes Affect Your Credit Score?

Although failing to make your tax payment does not directly hurt your credit, the U.S Government is capable of selling the unpaid taxes you owe to a private collection agency. The collection agency can cause significant damage to your credit by placing a collection account on your credit report.

Collection Account

Collection accounts are very negative items that can appear on your credit report and cause your credit score to drop by 100 or more points. In fact, the higher your credit score, the bigger the drop you will experience as a result of a collection account being added to your credit report.

If a collection account is added to your credit report, it can remain on it for 7 years from the date you failed to make your tax payment. When a collection is first added to your credit report it will have a huge negative effect on your credit score. However, as the collection account ages, its impact on your credit score will lessen until it's ultimately removed from your credit report.

Paying a collection account after it has been added to your credit report will not remove it from your credit report. So, to avoid having a collection account added to your credit report, you should make your tax payment on time.

Property Tax Lien

In addition to a collection account being added to your credit report, if you fail to pay your taxes on time, the IRS can place a lien on your property. Although IRS Tax Liens no longer appear on your credit report, if the IRS places a lien on your property, it could sell your property and use the proceeds to recover some or all of the money that you owe them.

Does Paying Your Taxes Late Affect Your Credit Score?

No, paying your taxes late does not affect your credit score because your tax payments are not reported to the credit reporting bureaus. Also, any tax liens that result from late tax payments no longer appear on your credit report, therefore, they have no impact on your credit score.

That said, paying your taxes late may result in the addition of a collection account to your credit report, indirectly affecting your credit score.

Collection accounts are negative items that are added to your credit report whenever a collection agency takes over an unpaid debt of yours. Collection accounts remain on your credit report for 7 years and they have a substantial negative impact on your credit score.

To avoid having a collection account from being added to your credit report, pay your taxes on time. This will help you avoid the IRS commission a collection agency to collect the outstanding amount that's due by adding a collection account to your credit report.

What Are Some Other Consequences For Failing To Pay Your Taxes?

If you fail to pay your taxes on time, the IRS can place a tax lien on your property, allowing it to sell your property and use the proceeds of the sale to recover some or all of the money that you owe them. So, to avoid a tax lien, you should make your tax payments on time. If you don't have the cash to make the entire payment, ask the IRS about installment payments, where you make a certain number of payments until you've paid off the balance.

Another consequence that we discussed in much detail is that the IRS can task a collection agency to recover the outstanding amount from you. Once a collection agency is tasked, it will attempt to collect the outstanding amount from you.

In the process of collecting the outstanding taxes, the collection agency may add a collection account to your credit report, significantly lowering your credit score.

If a collection account is added to your credit report, it will lower your score and remain on your credit report for 7 years from the date you missed your tax payment. After the 7 year period, the collection account will automatically be removed from your credit report.

In addition to a lien being placed on your property and a collection account added to your credit report, failing to pay your taxes on time can result in the IRS assessing penalties and additional fees on your account.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Do taxes affect your credit score?

No, taxes do not affect your credit score because your payments or lack thereof are not reported to the credit reporting bureaus. So, whether you pay or fail to pay, no negative payments will appear on your credit report. However, if the IRS tasks a collection agency to collect the taxes from you, a collection account could appear on your credit report, lowering your credit score.

2. Does the IRS report your payments on credit report?

No, the IRS does not report your tax payments on your credit report.

3. Can not paying taxes affect your credit score?

Yes, not paying your taxes can indirectly affect your credit score. For example, if you fail to pay your taxes, the IRS could contact a collection agency to have them collect your outstanding taxes. The collection agency can cause damage to your credit by placing a collection account on your credit report.

4. What happens to my credit if I pay my taxes late?

Paying your taxes late will have no impact on your credit as tax payments are not reported to the credit reporting bureaus.