Earning rewards points while paying your tax bill

Information verified correct on December 11th, 2016

Want to get more out of paying your taxes? Compare which credit cards let you earn points for making tax payments.

The Australian Taxation Office accepts payments from American Express, MasterCard and Visa credit cards, both online and over the phone. While there are surcharges for paying the ATO with a credit card, it can also be an easy way to earn more reward or frequent flyer points. Here, we take a look at the range of rewards credit cards that earn points for ATO payments, how to actually make the payment and everything else you need to know to make your money go further when you’re dealing with a tax bill.

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    Rewards Points per $ spent (AMEX) Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/MC) Bonus Points Annual fee
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    [/fin_hide]

    Which credit cards earn reward points for tax payments?

    If you want to earn reward points for using your credit card to make a tax payment, the first thing to do is check that the credit card will consider this type of transaction as an “eligible purchase”. This information could be included in the card’s terms and conditions but is often difficult to find. Often it depends on whether or not the credit card issuer considers ATO payments as “government charges”, which usually don’t earn any rewards. There are, however, some personal rewards cards and business reward credit cards that still earn points for tax payments. The table here outlines the known 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.

    Who lets me earn points on my credit card when I pay my tax?

    Credit CardPoints earned by paying government charges (pts/$1)
    American Express Card (applies to American Express credit cards only, earn rate may differ for companion American Express products)
     0.5 points per $1 paid to the ATO
    ANZ 
     0.5 ANZ Reward Points for every $1 you spend on taxation payments
    Bankwestn/a
    Bank of Melbourne 
    • Amplify Business
    0.5 Amplify points per $1 OR 0.25 Qantas points* *Requires opt-in to the Qantas program
    BankSA
    • Amplify Business
    0.5 Amplify points per $1 OR 0.25 Qantas points* *Requires opt-in to the Qantas program
    Citibankn/a
    Commonwealth Bank  

    Amex: 1.5 points per $1 MasterCard: 1 point per $1
    Amex: 2 points per $1 MasterCard: 1 point per $1
    Amex: 3 points per $1 MasterCard: 1 point per $1
    HSBCn/a
    NABn/a
    St.Georgen/a
    • Amplify Business
    0.5 Amplify points per $1 OR 0.25 Qantas points* *Requires opt-in to the Qantas
    Virgin Moneyn/a
    Westpac
    AMEX: 1 point per $1  MasterCard: None
    AMEX: 1 point per $1 MasterCard: None
    AMEX: 1.5 points per $1 MasterCard: None

    American Express credit cards and tax payments

    American Express is the only credit card issuer that currently has information about earning points on tax payments in their personal credit card terms and conditions, with members earning 0.5 points per $1 spent with a card that’s linked to the American Express Membership Rewards program. Earning points for ATO payments made with other AMEX cards, including those provided by banks, will be at the issuer’s discretion. American Express recommends contacting them directly for more details of eligible transactions on individual cards.


    tax-word-on-keyboard

    How can I make a tax payment with a credit card?

    If you have a credit card that earns rewards for tax payments, you have three different options for settling your ATO bills.

    1. Using a credit card for tax payments with EasyPay

    EasyPay is the Australian Taxation Office’s online payment service and is the most direct way to use a credit card, with transactions processed as purchases rather than cash payments. You can make a credit card payment with EasyPay by following these simple steps:

    1. Make sure you have a secure Internet connection and a compatible web browser. EasyPay recommends the following browsers: Windows IE 8 or later; Mozilla Firefox 4 or later; Google Chrome 4 or later.
    2. Select ‘Make a payment’ on the EasyPay website. You will then be taken to a secure payment page.
    3. Enter your payment details. This will include your Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) number or payment reference number (PRN), which is on your ATO payment slip or debt notice. You will also need to enter your credit card number, expiry and security code, as well as the amount you are paying.
    4. Take note of the surcharge
      • The ATO charges 0.42% for MasterCard and Visa payments and 1.45% for American Express payments. Ideally, the cost of the surcharge should be less than the value of the reward points you earn from your tax payment.
    5. Select ‘continue’
      • The transaction will then be completed.

    EasyPay is also available over the phone, by calling 1300 898 089 and following the prompts.

    2. Making a tax payment with a credit card through MyGov

    Individuals can also pay tax bills through a MyGov account that’s linked to the ATO using the following steps.

    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

    Like EasyPay, credit card transactions made through MyGov are subject to a surcharge of 0.42% for MasterCard or Visa and 1.45% for American Express payments.

    3. Using a credit card for BPAY tax payments

    Some credit cards also let you use BPAY to make tax payments. With BPAY, there is no need to register for the service, no additional fees and payments can be made through your Internet banking account.

    1. Log in to your credit card’s Internet Banking service
    2. Select the BPAY payment option
    3. Fill in the payment details, including the BPAY Biller Code and Reference Number (located on your ATO payment slip or debt notice)
    4. Complete the transaction

    Keep in mind that some issuers consider BPAY as a ‘purchase’ and others treat it as a ‘cash transaction’, which would attract interest charges at the cash advance rate and wouldn’t earn any points. You can find out if a biller accepts credit card payments by going to the BPAY website, searching for the appropriate biller code and checking what transactions it accepts.

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    Case study: Earning rewards points with ATO payments

    When the rewards are worth more than the surcharge

    Max owes the ATO $8,000 and plans to use his American Express Velocity Escape credit card to make the payment. This card earns one point per $1 for this type of transaction and Max plans to use the points for a Virgin Australia flight from Sydney to Melbourne.

    • Tax owed: $8,000
    • Surcharge: $116 (1.45% of $8,000)
    • Points earned: 8,000 points
    • Points required for flight: 6,900 plus $21.11 AUD Taxes
    • Estimated flight value: $133.89 (based on a standard Virgin Australia Economy price of $155 minus the $21.11 in taxes)
    • His points value outweighs the surcharge by $17.89 

    This case study highlights the importance of considering the cost of the credit card surcharge, as well as the points earned and the type of rewards you may want to claim. It’s important to look at all of these factors before you make a decision about using your credit card for ATO payments so that you know it is worth it. Another thing to keep in mind is that the payment fees charged for ATO credit card transactions may be tax deductible under some circumstances. You can check with your accountant to find out if you’re eligible.

    Using a credit card to make tax payments can be a great way to earn more reward points, however the cards you can do this with are limited. Now that you know more about how it works, the cards that earn rewards and the potential charges, you can find a credit card and an ATO payment option that works for you.

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    Frequently asked questions about earning rewards points with payments to the government

    Do all ATO transactions count as government charges?

    It depends on the credit card issuer. While technically the ATO is a government body, in some cases credit card transactions may not be classified as government charges and points may be awarded at the credit card provider’s discretion.

    Can I earn reward points by paying taxes with a Visa or MasterCard?

    Unfortunately, most 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.

    Can I use my NAB Platinum Qantas American Express card to earn points on ATO payments?

    No. As of 5th May 2015 no rewards/frequent flyer points can be accumulated from ATO payments with NAB. You may like to refer to the following link for other credit cards that earn rewards points with ATO payments.

    I have a CommBank Awards credit card that comes with an American Express card as well as a MasterCard. Can I use the AMEX card to earn points on tax payments?

    Unfortunately tax payments/business expenses are exempt from earning rewards points on these cards.

    What is the ATO card payment fee?

    This is another name for the credit card surcharge we have discussed earlier in this article. The ATO incur a fee for processing credit card payments, and this fee is passed down to you. The fee is based on the credit card used to complete the transaction, Visa, MasterCard or American Express for example, and is a percentage of the total value of the transaction.

    Is the ATO tax fee tax deductible?

    In some cases, you may be able to claim ATO credit card fees and charges as a tax deduction. The ATO has published guidelines about this on their website. Personal or business? You can not claim credit card fees as a tax deduction if you’re paying your personal income tax liability. However, you can claim these fees as a deduction if you’ve incurred the fees from paying your business tax liability. Consult your tax advisor if you plan on claiming ATO credit card fees as a tax deduction.
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    Shirley Liu

    Shirley is finder.com.au's publisher for banking and investments. She is currently studying a Masters in Commerce (Finance) and is the author of hundreds of articles. She is passionate about helping Aussies make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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    52 Responses to Earning rewards points while paying your tax bill

    1. Default Gravatar
      Bobby | September 26, 2016

      Hi,
      If I have a credit limit of let say $20,000 on my westpac altitude black and have a tax bill of let’s say $100,000 can I put extra $80k from my other account into the credit card account and pay the $100k ato bill with the westpac altitude black Amex to earn the reward points for the full $100k? If yes how many points am I going to earn in total and is the surcharge worth it?
      Thanks for your help.
      Regards,
      Bobby

      • Staff
        May | September 26, 2016

        Hi Bobby,

        Thanks for your inquiry.

        Your credit card limit is the amount that you are allowed to spend on your card. So if you want to pay your tax bill worth $100K in order to earn points but your credit card limit is only $20,000, I’m afraid that won’t be possible. I suggest that you contact Westpac directly to verify if you can opt out of being able to exceed your credit limit and still earn points on your ATO payments.

        Cheers,
        May

    2. Default Gravatar
      David | August 16, 2016

      Hi everyone

      I have Westpac Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer Platinum AMEX and VISA cards. I know they are no longer available to new applicants. Do they still offer points for ATO payments and if so, how many points per dollar for AMEX and VISA.

      Regards,
      David

      • Staff
        May | August 16, 2016

        Hi David,

        Thanks for your inquiry.

        Just to confirm, as stated in the T&Cs, a Westpac Platinum credit card that earns Altitude points will let you collect 1 Altitude Points per $1.00 paid to the ATO using your Altitude American Express. Whilst no Altitude points will be earned using Visa or MasterCard for ATO payments.

        For your reference, I have sent you an email that contains the link to the Westpac rewards T&Cs.

        Cheers,
        May

    3. Default Gravatar
      Jason | May 16, 2016

      Hi guys

      I was under the impression Westpac Altitude Black still pays out on ATO points? Any chance you can confirm this?

      Many thanks for your hard work!

      • Staff
        Sharon | May 16, 2016

        Hi Jason, thanks for your inquiry.

        Yes, that is correct. You will earn 1.5 Altitude Points for each $1.00 paid to the ATO using
        an Altitude Black American Express Card.

        Cheers,

        Sharon

      • Default Gravatar
        Aussieguy | May 16, 2016

        Is 1 Altitude Black American Express Card point worth 1 QF or VA point when transferred to their F/F programmes?

      • Staff
        May | May 17, 2016

        Hi Aussieguy, thanks for your inquiry!

        With Westpac Altitude Credit Card, the points you can transfer to Qantas or Velocity FF programs are the following:

        1. For $1 spent on AMEX = 1 Qantas point; for $1 spent on Visa = 0.5 Qantas point
        2. For 2 Altitude Points = 1 Velocity point

        Please feel free to check the links that I’ve sent to your email for further information about transferring of your Altitude points to Qantas and Velocity FF programs.

        I hope this is helpful.

        Cheers,
        May

    4. Default Gravatar
      nfw | April 29, 2016

      What about payments to OSR NSW? What about St George Bank?

      • Staff
        Ysa | May 5, 2016

        Hi nfw,

        We have confirmed with St.George Bank that you would not be able to accrue points for government charges.

        I hope this helps.

        Cheers,
        Ysa

    5. Default Gravatar
      Ebony | April 13, 2016

      Hi there

      Found this article after being very disappointed that my bank (anz) took the points away from tax payments. It seems all the banks are doing it? Can you confirm if there are any out there with visa and Amex options that do allow tax payments? I am reluctant to change if there just going to all cut it soon anyway.

      Thanks

      • Staff
        Sharon | April 18, 2016

        Hi Ebony,

        Thanks for your inquiry.

        Unfortunately, most of the 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.

        I hope this has helped.

        Thanks,

        Sharon

    6. Default Gravatar
      Rod | February 21, 2016

      The “who lets me earn points on my credit card when I pay my tax ?” question on your site has this info listed below….

      Westpac Altitude – 0.5 Qantas Points per $1.00 paid to the ATO

      Does this mean that the Westpac Black Altitude Mastercard still gives you uncapped reward points at a ratio of 0.5 Qantas points per $1.00 paid to the ATO with no cap on expenditure as well ?

      • Staff
        Jonathan | February 22, 2016

        Hi Rod, thanks for your inquiry!

        As per the Altitude Rewards terms and conditions you will earn “1.5 Altitude Points for each $1.00 paid to the ATO using your Altitude Black American Express Card.”

        Cheers,

        Jonathan

      • Default Gravatar
        Robyn | April 12, 2016

        Today, April 12th I have been telephoning all the banks listed on your pages and I haven’t found one that now allows you to pay the ATO (American Express Cards still allow this but the ATO has too high a charge for me on this card)

        Macquarie Bank will allow payments until June 2016 .

        I’m not sure if my understanding is correct, can you anyway help me, please?

        I wish to make a payment to the ATO and hopefully earn some Frequent Flyer Points at the same time .

        Thank you.

      • Staff
        Sharon | April 13, 2016

        Hi Robyn,

        Thanks for your inquiry.

        Unfortunately, most of the 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.

        I hope this has helped.

        Sharon

      • Default Gravatar
        Rod | February 23, 2016

        Thanks Jonathan for getting back to me.

        I question was more towards, does it apply to the MasterCard.

        If not, then is there a Visa or MasterCard out there that accrues uncapped points (that can be linked to Qantas)for payments to the ATO ?

      • Staff
        Jonathan | February 24, 2016

        Hi Rod, thanks for your response!

        Unfortunately MasterCard’s do not earn any points with payments to the ATO: “No Altitude Points for payments to the ATO using your Altitude Visa or
        MasterCard.” At this point of time only American Express credit cards can earn points for payments to the ATO.

        Cheers,

        Jonathan

    7. Default Gravatar
      Anna | December 26, 2015

      Hi,
      Are there any MasterCard or Visa cards that can be used to make ATO payments? I’d like to avoid the hefty 1.5% ATO fee for Amex, which is only 0.42% for Visa and MasterCard.
      Many thanks, Anna

      • Staff
        Sally | December 29, 2015

        Hi Anna,

        Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, most 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.

        I hope this has helped.

        Cheers,

        Sally

    8. Default Gravatar
      Cengiz | November 27, 2015

      Any advise on which VISA or MASTERCARD, still reward points for paying your BAS statements ?? I can’t find one anymore

      • Staff
        Ally | November 27, 2015

        Hi Cengiz,

        Thanks for your inquiry.

        Generally, American Express credit cards can earn points for ATO payments. Whilst a number of banks are removing this feature from their cards, Westpac still allows this type of transaction.

        Cheers,

    9. Default Gravatar
      Rhon | October 19, 2015

      Hi there, I know HSBC has changed it’s reward points system, however, do they still pay points for paying your BAS.

      • Staff
        Jonathan | October 19, 2015

        Hi Rhon, thanks for your inquiry!

        Unfortunately tax payments/ business expenses are exempt from earning rewards points.

        Cheers,

        Jonathan

    10. Default Gravatar
      Adam | October 9, 2015

      Can you pay and get point on ATO payments with ANZ Black still?

      • Staff
        Sally | October 13, 2015

        Hi Adam,

        Thanks for your question.

        According to the ANZ Rewards terms and conditions, cardholders are unable to accrue points on government charges.

        Thanks,

        Sally

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