Although the estimated quarterly tax system was made to make taxes simpler for business owners and self employed taxpayers, sometimes it seems like they do just the opposite. The economy is making life more difficult on millions of Americans, and it can be very easy to miss an estimated quarterly due date. For those of you who may have missed last week’s June 15 deadline, I’ve put together the following article explaining what you can do.
Do Not Worry
First of all, do not worry. If you miss the quarterly payment by a few days then the IRS probably will not assess any penalties or fees, but you should still get your payment in the mail as soon as possible. The IRS’s main concern is that they get their money, and as long as you get yours to them within a couple of days then you should be fine.
Do Not Wait
Although some people will tell you it’s fine to just include more money in your next quarterly payment, this option can have serious consequences. The IRS wants self-employed taxpayers to make regular quarterly payments, and can enforce heavy fines if you wait. Unless you did not have any profit this quarter then you want to get your payment mailed out ASAP.
Get Professional Help
Calculating your own estimated payments is actually pretty simple—see The Truth About Estimated Quarterly Tax Payments on the RDTC Tax Help Blog—but if you are confused then you might want to seek out professional help. Not all tax preparation offices are open year round, so you might need to find an accountant. Additionally, most Roni Deutch Tax Center franchises are open year round and can help with estimated payments. To find a store close to you, check out the Locations Page on RDTC.com.
If You Need Time
If you cannot afford your entire tax payment right away right away then you can take another route. One common option is to simply pay by credit card. That way you take care of your tax liability with the IRS, and pay off your credit card balance whenever it is most convenient for you. You could also just pay what you can now, and pay the rest over time as you can. If the IRS sees you are making steady payments on the total, they are probably not going to penalize you much, if at all.
The name "quarterly payments" has misled more than one taxpayer. Since they are quarterly, it would be correct to assume you need to pay every three months right? Wrong. There is actually only a two month space between the April 15th, and June 15th due date. Later in the year you also have a four month quarter to make up for the reduced spring time quarter.
Avoiding Missed Payments
There are several ways you can make sure you do not make this mistake again. Put the due dates (April 15th, June 15th, September 15th, and January 15th) in as many places as you need to in order to remember. This can include your calendar, planner, iCal, a date book, or even a sticky note on your desk. You may even be able to set an alert on your cell telephone months ahead of time.