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How to pay the ATO by credit card and earn points

The ATO accepts credit card payments from Amex, Mastercard and Visa. Here’s how it works, what it costs and cards that offer points per $1 spent on your tax bill.

If you need to make a payment to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), there are plenty of options, including credit or debit cards, BPAY or even a payment plan. If paying by credit card is your preference, you can use the ATO online payment platform or phone line to manage your tax bill.

But keep in mind that only a small selection of rewards credit cards earn points for spending with the ATO and other government bodies. The amount of points earned is also usually at a lower rate than points you earn for everyday purchases. So, let's take a closer look at how it all works.

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Ways to pay the ATO with a credit card

You can use a credit card to pay the ATO through the Government EasyPay website or phone service or through your MyGov account. You could also make a BPAY payment if your credit card allows it.

Before we go into the steps for each of these options, make sure you have the following handy:

  • A valid Visa, Mastercard or American Express card.
  • Your payment reference number (PRN) or electronic funds transfer (EFT) code. This number can be found above the bar code on your payment slip or debt notice, or online via myGov.

How to pay the ATO using the Government EasyPay service

This secure payment service is provided by the ATO and the Reserve Bank of Australia. It allows you to make online payments as either an individual or a business using the following steps.

  1. Go to the Government EasyPay website for ATO payments:
  2. Select the "Make a payment" option.
  3. Enter your Payment Reference Number (PRN), the amount you're paying and your card details. You'll then see how much the card payment fee will cost.
  4. Follow the prompts to complete the payment.

Alternatively, you can call the Government EasyPay phone service on 1300 898 089 and provide your details over the phone.

How to make an ATO payment through myGov

If you're an individual or sole trader, you can pay your tax bill through your myGov account (as long as you have linked it to the ATO).

  1. Log in to your myGov account.
  2. Select the "Australian Taxation Office" link.
  3. Click on the "Tax" column, select "Payments" and then "Payment Options".
  4. Select the card payment option and follow the prompts to complete the payment.

How to use a credit card for BPAY payments to the ATO

If your credit card allows BPAY payments, you can use the following steps to pay the ATO:

  1. Log in to your credit card's Internet Banking service and select the BPAY option.
  2. Fill in the payment details, including the BPAY Biller Code and Reference Number located on your ATO payment slip or debt notice.
  3. Follow the prompts to complete the transaction.

Note that only Australian Visa or Mastercard credit cards can be used for BPAY payments to the ATO.

Also keep in mind that most credit card issuers treat BPAY transactions in a similar way to cash advance transactions. When this is the case, you could be charged a cash advance fee and the cash advance interest rate from the time the transaction is made. And you don't typically earn points for BPAY payments from a credit card.

ATO credit card payment fees

When you use your credit card to pay the ATO, you'll be charged a card payment fee. The cost is calculated as a percentage of your payment, with the following rates for different card types:

  • American Express: 1.45%
  • Australian Visa credit card: 0.75%
  • Australian Mastercard credit card: 0.72%
  • Australian Mastercard debit card: 0.20%
  • Australian Visa debit card: 0.40%
  • International Visa or Mastercard: 1.99%

If you want to avoid card payment fees, you could choose to pay the ATO using BPAY or a bank transfer from your transaction account. But keep in mind that BPAY payments made from a credit card usually aren't eligible for points and can attract cash advance fees.

Which credit cards offer points for payments to the ATO?

To help you weigh up your options, this table shows credit cards that will earn you points when you make a payment to the ATO – including the amount of rewards you'll get for every dollar you spend.

Credit CardPoints per $1 for government chargesOther notes
Personal American Express cards (highest ATO earn rate):1 point per $1 spent
  • The American Express Platinum and Explorer cards all list an earn rate for payments to government bodies, including the ATO.
  • The American Express Platinum Edge does not specifically list payments to government bodies as eligible or ineligible for earning points.
Personal American Express cards (lower ATO earn rate):0.5 points per $1 spentThese American Express cards all list an earn rate for payments to government bodies, which includes the ATO.
American Express business and corporate cards (highest ATO earn rate):1 point per $1 spentThese American Express cards all specifically list an earn rate for payments to government bodies, including the ATO.
American Express business cards (lower ATO earn rate):0.5 points per $1 spentThese American Express cards all specifically list an earn rate for payments to government bodies, including the ATO.
ANZ0.5 points for every $1 spent on taxation paymentsThese ANZ cards specifically list this earn rate for government payments.
Bank of Melbourne 0.5 Amplify points per $1 OR 0.25 Qantas points**Requires opt-in to the Qantas programThese earn rates are specifically listed for government payments, which includes those made to the ATO.
BankSA0.5 Amplify points per $1 OR 0.25 Qantas points**Requires opt-in to the Qantas programThese earn rates are specifically listed for government payments, which includes those made to the ATO.
Commonwealth Bank1 point per $1 spent
The CommBank Awards program terms and conditions state that payments to the ATO won’t earn points unless they are made with a Business Awards or Business Platinum Awards card.
NAB
  • Rewards Business Signature: 1.25 points per $1
  • Qantas Business Signature: 1 point per $1.50
These earn rates are specifically listed for payments made to the Australian Taxation Office.
St.George0.5 Amplify points per $1 OR 0.25 Qantas points**Requires opt-in to the Qantas Frequent Flyer ProgramThese earn rates are specifically listed for government payments, which includes those made to the ATO.
Westpac
  • BusinessChoice Rewards Platinum: Equivalent 0.33 Qantas Points per $1 spent (0.5 points per $1.50)
  • Altitude Business Gold and Platinum: 0.5 points per $1 spent on government payments.
These earn rates are specifically listed for government payments, which includes those made to the ATO.

How to check if your credit card earns points for tax payments

  1. Look at the reward program terms and conditions. Credit cards that earn reward or frequent flyer points have a list of transactions that are not eligible to earn points. If "government charges" or "ATO payments" are on the list, then you won't earn points for your tax payment.
  2. Contact your credit card company. Call, email, use an online chat service or leave a message on social media asking the credit card company whether or not your card earns points for ATO payments. If you decide to use social media, make sure you don't share any personal details and only mention the name of the card (rather than your account information).

Other important details about using a credit card and earning points for tax payments

If you’re planning to use a credit card for your ATO payment, make sure you also keep the following in mind:

Credit card reward point exceptions

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence online that suggests some people have earned rewards for ATO payments on other credit cards – including some that state government payments are not eligible for rewards.

However, reward program terms and conditions usually note that there could be variations. They also typically reserve the right to make changes or exclude transactions from earning rewards.

So, while there may be times when you do earn points on ATO payments with a card that does not define them as "eligible transactions", it could be risky.

Business payments on personal credit cards

If you're planning to use a credit card to pay your ATO debt for a business, keep in mind that most personal credit cards have restrictions around business spending (including personal business spending). So, for example, if you run a small business and pay with your personal credit card, the transaction may not be eligible to earn any points.

ATO payments deadline

Additional fees and penalties may apply if you don't settle your bill with the ATO by the due date listed on your bill or Tax Assessment Notice. Keep in mind that transactions done outside regular office hours are processed the following business day. This includes payments made after 6pm (Sydney time) on weekdays, as well as those made on weekends or public holidays.

If you're having trouble paying the full amount owed, call the ATO on 13 28 65 (for individuals) or 13 72 26 (for businesses) to discuss your options. You can also request a payment plan through a registered tax agent or via myGov.

Credit card surcharge tax deductions

The ATO card payment fee may be tax deductible under some circumstances. For example, if you're paying a tax bill for your business. Claiming the fee as a tax deduction could also help make earning points worth it. You can check with your accountant to find out if you’re eligible to claim this cost.

Is earning points on a tax payment worth it?

The cost of the ATO card payment fee means that the value you get from any points is likely to be worth less than what you spend to earn them. However, if you really want to earn points for your tax payment, you can work out the exact value by considering the following details:

  • The surcharge you’ll pay based on the card you use
  • The amount of points you’ll earn based on your tax payment
  • Your reward balance and/or any rewards you’re saving up to redeem

Example: Working out if paying your tax bill with a credit card is worth it

Say you had a tax bill of $10,000 and wanted to pay with an American Express credit card that offers 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent with the ATO. Here’s how the costs and points would break down:

  • ATO card payment fee: $145 (based on the 1.45% charge for Amex transactions)
  • Points earned: 5,000 Qantas Points

In terms of rewards, these points could get you a $25 David Jones digital gift card (from 4,790 points), or be saved up for flights or other high-value frequent flyer rewards.

If you really needed an extra 5,000 Qantas Points, earning them in this way would be cheaper than buying them, with the Qantas Frequent Flyer program offering 5,000 points for $208. So in this case, the value of the points really depends on how much you want them.

It’s also worth noting that you’ll typically get more value per point if you use an Australian Mastercard or Visa credit card that offers points for ATO payments. This is because the ATO payment fee is much lower for these types of credit cards compared to American Express cards.

Either way, looking at the total cost of the payment fee and the amount of points you’ll earn based on your tax debt and credit card will help you decide if it’s worth it.

FAQs about earning points for credit card payments to the ATO

If you want to know more about credit cards that earn points for ATO payments and other government charges, you’ll find answers here to some of the most common questions. Or, if you have another question, get in touch with us by filling out the comment box below.

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66 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    ChristinaAugust 4, 2018

    Hi there,
    I am looking for an Australian Business Credit Card that ATO credit card surcharge deductible. For example, if I’m paying my business tax bill and claiming the fee as a tax deduction could also help making earning points.

      AvatarFinder
      JeniAugust 12, 2018Finder

      Hi Christina,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      There are business credit cards earning points for ATO payments from our comparison table above. You can use the table to help you find the card that suits you. You can press the “Go to site” button of your preferred card if you are ready to apply. Please make sure though to read the eligibility criteria, features and details of the card, as well as the relevant PDS/ T&Cs of the card before making a decision and consider whether the product is right for you.

      With most credit card payments to the ATO attracting a surcharge make sure you do your sums before deciding how to pay. It’s also worth considering fee-free options – such as BPAY or a direct transfer from your everyday bank account – so that you can find the most convenient and affordable way to pay your tax bill.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    JudyAugust 24, 2017

    Can I use my ANZ visa card or Westpac Amex card to pay BAS?
    Thanks

      AvatarFinder
      HaroldAugust 25, 2017Finder

      Hi Judy,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You can make a payment by credit card or BPAY. To find out more, please read ATO’s how to pay guide to learn more about how you can pay with BPAY or credit card and debit card.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

    Default Gravatar
    BethAugust 9, 2017

    I am looking for a visa or mastercard to use to make payments with the ATO to earn qantas frequent flyer points. I understand not all cards do this and are being limited. What cards do you know of that are on offer for this service ?
    Thank you

      AvatarFinder
      RenchAugust 9, 2017Finder

      Hi Beth,

      Thanks for your inquiry. Please note that we are not affiliated with any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer you general advice.

      The range of CommBank Business Awards credit cards is currently the only option that states ATO payments made with the Mastercard will earn points. Unfortunately, most other banks no longer allow cardholders to earn rewards points on ATO payments. The providers listed on this page are currently the only ones in Australia that allow cardholders to earn points on tax payments.

      If you wish to explore other options, please check our list of frequent flyer credit cards. (Please note that these cards do not earn points for ATO payments).

      Cheers,
      Rench

    Default Gravatar
    BrettMay 19, 2017

    Hi
    Im with nab at the moment and i convert all my points to qantas ff, can you advise the best card for making large payment to the ato for maximum qantas ff points?
    thanks

      AvatarFinder
      DeeMay 22, 2017Finder

      Hi Brett,

      Thanks for your question.

      Currently, Westpac’s Altitude Black (AMEX) lets you earn 1.5 points per $1 paid to the ATO. Unfortunately, starting 1 July 2017, this card will no longer earn points for ATO payments.

      After the changes in the coming months, most credit cards that earn rewards points to the ATO will generally earn just .5 points per $1. You can refer to the list above.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

    Default Gravatar
    DeanMay 11, 2017

    My bill is greater than my card limit. If I transfer funds to my credit card so I have a credit balance. Can I use those funds to pay the ATO and earn the extra reward points.

      Default Gravatar
      LiezlMay 11, 2017

      Hi Dean,

      Thank you for your question.

      Generally, transferring funds to your credit card will not increase your credit limit, it will be treated as an overpayment. If banks accept payment from you in excess of your outstanding balance, your available credit limit will not be increased by the amount of the overpayment and it does not necessarily mean that bank will authorize transactions for an amount in excess of your credit limit.

      It would be best to check with your bank before making an overpayment.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      Liezl

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