An Odd New Limitation

When I logged into my online bill payment account today I saw a strange new warning:

Screen grab from Chase online bill payment service

(For those who can’t read the tiny print, it says, “The Online Bill Payment service should NOT be used to pay your local, state or federal taxes.”)

It doesn’t immediately make sense to me why this would be the case, since I’ve used this service to send to everything from major corporations to individuals.  They’ve got it set up so that it recognizes payees who can receive payment directly versus those who can’t.  If a payee can’t accept payment directly, the service will print and mail a check on your behalf.

The only thing I can think of is that perhaps some tax entities require additional documentation beyond an account reference number, in which case there might be a problem, since there’s no way for Chase to include anything beyond a memo on the check.  You’d expect people to know better, but I suppose that’s being naive.  In which case it would make sense to include the warning lest Chase get sued when someone’s tax payment goes off into never-never-land.

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