Using credit cards to pay federal income taxes took a nose dive this filing season, thanks to the soft economy. The Internal Revenue Service said that tax payments via credit cards declined 19.3% between 2001 and 2002. During the 2002 tax filing season, the IRS received 215,200 credit card transactions for a total of $574.4 million in income tax payments. One year ago, the agency took in $711.9 million in 230,800 transactions during the filing season. The agency says lower amounts of individual income taxes owed contributed to the decline. Last week, the IRS awarded CT-based Official Payments Corporation and TN-based Link2Gov Corp contracts to process card payments next year. PhoneCharge, a current credit card processor, was not renewed by the IRS.