Tax payments to IRS: Required to be received by or postmarked by the 15th?

TurboTax specifically states in the "E-file Your Federal Return for FREE" section, "*You can schedule the date to make your tax payment, however, it must be received by the IRS on or before April 15, 2013 to avoid any penalties."  I thought it only needed to be postmarked by the 15th.  So what is right?


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Postmarked would indicate that you are mailing the payment due to the IRS along with your 1040-V voucher payment form in order to pay your taxes using either a check or money order.  The rules are just the same as making sure that your return is filed in a timely manner; postmarked by the tax deadline date. (as a side note, it's always a good idea to get a return receipt or some sort of delivery verification from the postal service if you choose to mail your taxes or a tax payment to the IRS; make sure it is a dated receipt for proof).

However, the information about scheduling the date to make your tax payment is for those who choose to pay the taxes through one of the electronic payment systems (not mailing their taxes or tax payment with voucher).  For an electronic payment to be credited as an on time payment, it must be scheduled to be paid on or before the tax deadline date.  For those who are paying electronically, they are allowed to select a date for which the taxes will be debited from their checking accounts or charged to their credit cards.  You can e-file your taxes at an earlier date and select April 15th as the date for which you want the taxes to be electronically debited from your checking account or charged to your credit card.  You cannot select a date after April 15th (or tax deadline for the year) and have a payment made on time through this type of payment option.   The message you see is intended for those taxpayers who are using an electronic payment option to pay their taxes when they e-file.  Even if you file by printing & mailing, you are offered the option to include direct debit information for your checking account in order to pay your taxes due; this has to be dated by the tax deadline as well.  It's an alternative to sending a check with payment voucher at a later date than the date that you choose to send your taxes by printing & filing by mail.
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