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If you still rely on snail mail to pay your federal taxes, think about trying a new approach:  paying electronically.

Among the options is a web-based system, launched this year, known as “IRS Direct Pay.” You can use it to zap your individual federal tax bills or estimated tax payments directly from your bank account.

That might not sound so smart to readers fearful of hackers or other cyberspace hazards. However, growing numbers are trying the program. Nearly 800,000 tax payments totaling almost $1.6 billion have been received from individual taxpayers since Direct Pay made its debut earlier this year, says Eric Smith, an IRS spokesman.

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