If you have self-employment or other income outside of your W-2 paycheck this year, you may need to send the IRS some money before the usual tax-filing time. Here are the due dates for paying quarterly estimated taxes in 2015; they are supposed to be in four equal installments. This is for federal taxes only, state and local tax due dates may be different.
(Note: January 15th, 2015 is the last day to make an estimated tax payment for 2014. See bottom of post for fast payment options. This will prevent any penalty for late payment of the last installment. You do not have to make this Q4 payment if you file your 2014 tax return (Form 1040) and pay the tax due by February 2nd, 2015. If you miss these dates, file your return and pay as soon as possible to minimize penalties.)
IRS Estimated Tax Payment Calendar for Individuals
|Tax Year / Quarter||Due Date|
|2015 First Quarter||April 15, 2015 (Wednesday)|
|2015 Second Quarter||June 15, 2015 (Monday)|
|2015 Third Quarter||September 15, 2015 (Tuesday)|
|2015 Fourth Quarter||January 15, 2016* (Friday)|
* You do not have to make the Q4 payment due January 15, 2016, if you file your 2015 tax return by February 1st, 2016.
Who needs to pay estimated taxes?
In general, you must pay estimated tax for 2015 if both of the following apply:
- You expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax for 2015, after subtracting your withholding and refundable credits.
- You expect your withholding and credits to be less than the smaller of
- 90% of the tax to be shown on your 2015 tax return, or
- 100% of the tax shown on your 2014 tax return. Your 2014 tax return must cover all 12 months.
If you forget to pay (like I’ve done before), then you should make a payment as soon as possible even though it is late. This will minimize any penalty assessed.
How do I pay? When does the payment count?
- By check. Fill out the appropriate 1040-ES voucher (last page of the PDF) and snail mail to the indicated address. The date of the U.S. postmark is considered the date of payment. No fees besides postage.
- By online bank transfer. You can store your bank account information and pay via electronic funds transfer at EFTPS.gov or call 1-800-555-4477. It takes a little while to set up an online account initially, so you’ll need to plan ahead. For a quick one-time payment, you can also use IRS Direct Pay (just introduced in 2014) which does not require a sign-up but it also doesn’t store your bank account information for future payments. Both charge no convenience fees. The date of payment will be noted online.
- By debit or credit card. Here is page of IRS-approved payment processors. Pay by phone or online. Fees will apply, but the payment will count as paid as soon as you charge the card.
I usually pay online at EFTPS.gov for both convenience and to avoid fees. However, right now the lowest fee for a credit card payment is 1.87% from providers like PayUSATax.com, which I’ve used. Meanwhile, you can earn up to 2% cash back from a credit card like the Citi Double Cash card. So you can actually clear a small profit by making your tax payment with the right credit card, and it will officially count as paid to the IRS immediately.