From the Not as Dumb as They Look Department comes this news: U.S. taxpayers are still hesitant to embrace the option to pay Uncle Sam with their credit cards.

According to a study of 1,001 U.S. adults conducted by New York-based market research firm Ipsos-Insight, 62 percent of adults are aware that the IRS accepts credit cards. But just 1 percent plan to use a credit card to pay incremental federal income taxes for 2004.

"As was apparent in previous years, a large convenience charge aimed directly at the consumer is clearly the barrier to broader use of this service," said Doug Cottings, senior vice president with Ipsos-Insight's financial services practice. A credit card convenience fee of anywhere from 2.25 to 3 percent is charged to the taxpayer when paying federal taxes by credit card, Cottings noted.

John J. Oslund