A Complete Guide on Estimated Quarterly Taxes

Dec 24, 2023 By Triston Martin

If you own your firm, you'll almost certainly have to pay an estimated amount of tax each quarter. In addition to income tax, estimated tax is used to pay other taxes, such as self-employment tax and the alternative minimum tax.


A penalty may be assessed if you fail to make sufficient tax payments through withholding and anticipated tax payments. Even if you receive a refund when you file your tax return, you may still owe a penalty if you pay your estimated taxes late.


Farmers, fishers, and several other types of taxpayers with higher incomes will have different tax burdens than other taxpayers. For more information on these unique estimated tax laws, see Publication 505: Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.



Who Pays the Estimated Tax?


Anyone with a tax liability of $1,000 or more is required to make scheduled payments when filing their return, whether they are sole proprietors or partners or shareholders in an S corporation.


Businesses that anticipate having an unpaid tax liability over $500 must make an anticipated tax payment.


If your preceding year's tax was greater than zero, you might be required to pay an estimated amount for the current year. Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, and Form 1120-W, Expenses for Corporations, provide more information on who must pay estimated tax and how much.


Who Is Not Required to Pay Estimated Tax?


You can avoid paying estimated taxes by requesting that your employer withhold more tax from your salary or compensation. Please fill out a new W-4 and submit it to your employer. Form W-4 has a line for you to indicate the additional amount your employer should deduct.


The Tax Withholding Estimator can assist you in ensuring that you are withholding the correct amount of tax from your salary.


All three of the following conditions must be met to avoid paying anticipated tax for the current year.


  • As previously stated, you owe no taxes for the prior year.
  • All year, you were either a US citizen or a legal resident of the country.
  • Your most recent tax year was a calendar year.


No tax was due for the previous year if your total tax was 0 or you did not have to file an income tax return. No tax was due.


Tax Estimation: A Step-by-Step Guide


Tax estimates for individuals (including S corporation shareholders) are often calculated using Form 1040-ES. It would be best to estimate your taxable income, taxes, deductions, and credits for the year to calculate your anticipated tax.


A starting point for the current year's anticipated tax may be the previous year's income, deductions, and credits. Refer to the federal tax return you filed the year before as a starting point. Calculating your estimated tax is easy with the Form 1040-ES worksheet. A rough idea of how much money you'll make in a year is necessary. Recalculate your estimated tax for the next quarter by completing another Form 1040-ES worksheet. Fill out a new Form 1040-ES worksheet for the next quarter if you underestimated your earnings by more than 10%. To avoid fines, you should be as accurate as possible when estimating your revenue.


Both your circumstances and current tax law changes necessitate a re-evaluation of your situation.


Estimated taxes are often calculated using Form 1120-W.


Paying Estimated Tax Bills



The year is broken up into four payment periods to calculate anticipated taxes. Form 1040-ES can be used to mail estimated tax payments, or you can use IRS2Go to pay online, over the phone, or through your mobile device. To see all of your options, go to IRS.gov/payments. Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax is available in Publication 505.


The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) is the most convenient paying federal taxes for individuals and corporations. Federal tax payments, including FTDs, installment agreements, and estimated tax payments, can all be made utilizing EFTPS for federal tax payments. If you find it easier to pay your estimated taxes on a weekly or biweekly basis, you are free to do so as long as you meet the quarterly payment deadline. If you use EFTPS, you'll be able to see a history of your payments, including how much you paid and when.


Corporations must make the payment using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.


Self-Employed Taxpayers Who Are Infected with The Coronavirus Are Eligible for A Tax Break


Individuals making projected tax payments can defer the payment of 50 percent of the social security tax on net earnings from self-employment imposed for the period commencing on March 27, 2020, and ending December 31, 2020, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Net earnings from self-employment earned between March 27, 2020, and December 31, 2020, will not be used to compute estimated tax payments under this rule.


Penalty for Failure to Pay Estimated Taxes


There would be a penalty for underpayment of projected tax if you didn't pay enough tax throughout the year, either by withholding or making estimated tax payments. In general, taxpayers who owe less than $1,000 in tax (after subtracting their withholdings and credits) or who paid at least 90% of the current year's tax (or 100% of the tax indicated on the prior year's return, whichever is smaller) will not be subject to this penalty. In addition to the general tax laws, farmers, fishers, and some high-income individuals have additional requirements. Additionally, the penalty may be waived if:


  • Unfortunate circumstances prevented you from paying estimated taxes because of a death, disaster, or another unusual event;


  • You retired or became disabled (after reaching the age of 62) during the tax year in which estimated payments were required to be made, and the underpayment was due to a reasonable cause rather than willful neglect.
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