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Investment Tip of the Day

Can You Pay Your Taxes with Credit Cards?

Paying Taxes with Credit Cards in CanadaAlthough it sounds absurd that one would want to use their credit card to pay the tax man, but in the U.S. about 3 million citizens do just that each year. And even the IRS accepts and encourages such activity. Despite the fact that these citizens get charged an additional 2-4% fee just to have the “convenience” to use their cards to pay tax bills this does not discourage them. It’s a really troubling sign of how credit debt has taken over the psyche of those south of our border.

Fortunately, here in Canada the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is well aware of the consequences of allowing its people to use credit cards to pay their tax owing and so forbid it. One can only pay taxes from an account that actually has money. Granted, one can get around this by taking out a cash advance but because there are no rewards/points for advances, and you get charged much higher interest rates the very moment its withdrawn, most people don’t do it.

The reasoning sighted by CRA is simple. If you could pay off a tax bill by swiping a credit card you risk falling into debt and at a macro level having a nation that enters the red, potentially risking a tsunami-like recession. The IRS is aware of this but not concerned of it because when you follow the legislative paper trail you find a host of credit card lobbyists who had bribed policy makers into passing laws to make such actions legal. This is a testament to how relatively stable our government is and how it is still working for its voters not against it.

Is it possible that in the near future we could follow the U.S. lead and end up being permitted to use our credit cards so irresponsibly for a few more reward points and cash backs? Of course. But when such times come, as a smart investor, you will know to keep your mind clear and make the prudent decisions necessary that will better drive your dollar.