District 7-11 Stores will begin accepting IRS payments from residents without bank accounts. (Courtesy photo)

The Internal Revenue Service announced April 6 that taxpayers who wish to pay their taxes in cash or do not have bank accounts or credit cards can now take care of their tax bill at one of 7,000 participating 7-Eleven convenience stores in 34 states and the District. For the thousands of District residents who remain unbanked or underbanked, the decision creates a needed economic boost.

The number of unbanked District residents, with no checking or savings accounts, according to Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB) a non-profit savings advocate, is 12 percent, with those termed the “underbanked,” who have bank accounts but prefer to use check-cashing or payday loan offices for financial transactions, is around 25 percent. Previously residents would have had to trek to an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center to fulfill their tax obligations.

“I have never had a checking or savings account because I grew up with people who did not trust banks,” Ward 8 resident Charlie Bowman told the AFRO. “The IRS is being forward-thinking in setting up payment centers in 7-Eleven, because it brings the business to the people and there are stores everywhere.”

Bowman said he has used liquor stores or check cashing stores, such as ACE, to cash checks or get money orders to pay bills for the last 40 years. “With so many D.C. residents in neighborhoods like mine, off Mississippi Avenue (SE), who do not have a whole lot of banks, it will be nice to take care of tax business at the corner 7-Eleven,” he said.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said the partnership with 7-Eleven allows electronic payments to be made through the Official Payments and PayNearMe transaction networks inside the store and allows maximum payments of $1000 per day for a $3.99 fee. “Taxpayers have many options to pay their tax bills . . . but this provides a new way for people who can only pay their taxes in cash, without having to travel to an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center,” he said in a statement.

Users must also follow a registration process that includes visiting the IRS payment page to submit personal information and receiving a payment code. Once payments are made, they should post within two business days. “At first I thought it was a bad idea because the stores can get really crowded with people playing lottery and grabbing food,” Ward 6 resident Nyeshia Braveboy told the AFRO outside the store at South Capital and M Street SW. “But when you consider the amount of time people have to spend getting to the IRS office to make cash payments, it really is a benefit to go right up the street and pay that bill when you’re getting your lottery or hot dogs.”

The IRS is not the only agency to invest in quicker more convenient ways for people to pay bills. The Department of Health and Human Services in 2014 announced a partnership with PayNearMe to promote ObamaCare sign-ups.

Residents are advised to visit the IRS website prior to the April 18 filing deadline