Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Truth About Estimated Quarterly Tax Payments

The June 15th deadline for the second quarterly 2009 tax payment is only a few days away. If you are required to make a payment, and are looking to save money this year, then check out this entry from the Roni Deutch Tax Center – Tax Help Blog with details on how you can calculate your own payment.

Who needs to make estimated quarterly tax payments?

According to the IRS, “in most cases, you must make estimated tax payments if you expect

to owe at least $1,000 in tax for 2009 (after subtracting your withholding and credits) and you expect your withholding and credits to be less than the smaller of:

90% of the tax to be shown on your current year’s tax return, or

100% of the tax shown on your prior year’s tax return. (Your prior year tax return must cover all 12 months.)”

So basically, if you have any income over $1,000 that has not had federal taxes withheld then you will need to make quarterly payments. This applies to any source of revenue, from self-employment earnings to interest and dividend payments.

When are they due?

Some first-time quarterly taxpayers may get a little confused, because the "quarterly" payments are not divided in to exact quarters. While the reason for this is unclear, just be sure to put the exact dates in bold letters on your calendar. That way you can avoid being hit with a late penalty.

For income earned Jan. 1—March 31, due by April 15

For income earned April 1—May 31, due by June 15

For income earned June 1—August 31, due by September 15

For income earned Sept. 1—Dec. 31, due by January 15

These are the due dates for quarterly payments, but do not forget you also have the option of making monthly payments. Some prefer the monthly option because the payments are much smaller and more manageable.

How do I calculate an Estimated Tax Payment?

Although it seems complicated at first glance, estimated quarterly tax payments are not all that difficult to calculate, and the whole process should take no more than an hour or two. To complete the calculations, you will need: last year’s tax return, a calculator, a pen, and piece of paper. There are a couple of ways to calculate how much you owe, and for more details you can download IRS Form 1040-ES, but the details below explain one of the simplest methods.

Discover your average tax rate by pulling out last year’s tax return. To do so, divide your income tax from last year (should be line 43 on an average 1040) by your adjusted gross income from last year (line 37). You then multiply this number by your total income for this quarter. If you are a self-employed individual, you will need to add additional costs for Medicare and social security, usually about 15.5%. For more details on calculating your payment, we highly recommend you seek advice from a professional tax preparer.

How do I make the payments?

Estimated quarterly tax payments, once estimated, are very simple to make. One way is to write a check for the amount and send it to the IRS along with a 1040-ES voucher form. You also have the option to make payments quickly online through the electronic federal payment system. Check out for more information.

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