Do you owe estimated taxes or self-employment taxes? You might actually find that you are responsible for paying estimated taxes, but you aren’t aware of it. Let’s give a quick overview of who owes estimated taxes, a look at the estimated tax schedule, and how you can pay them.
Who owes estimated taxes? If you are a salaried employee or hourly worker, chances are your employer withholds your taxes from your paycheck. But if you have small business income, freelance income, or income from other sources, you may not have had taxes withheld and you may owe estimated taxes. There are other situations when you may owe estimated taxes, so check with a tax professional if you are in doubt. You may also be required to pay self employment tax, which is another issue entirely.
Estimated tax schedule
Estimated taxes are due 4 times per year. They are often referred to as quarterly estimated taxes, even though the payments are not spaced exactly 4 months apart. Here are the estimated tax deadlines:
- April 15th
- June 15th
- September 15th
- January 15th
Just a note about the estimated tax dates: Notice the January deadline covers the final quarter of the year, and the April 15th deadline is for the first quarter’s income. So many freelancers and self-employed individuals have twice the reason to dislike April 15th – it’s the deadline to file their annual taxes and their first quarter estimated taxes – fun!
Paying estimated taxes
There are two ways to pay estimated taxes. The easiest, fastest, and safest way to pay is online with the IRS Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). Sign up is free and only takes a few minutes. Here is a detailed tutorial for how to enroll for electronic tax payments for your individual or business taxes. Keep in mind that while it only takes a few minutes to sign up for the EFTPS, it takes about 15 days to receive your PIN, so don’t wait until the last minute to sign up! (you can create an account for your personal taxes and a separate account for your business taxes if you have an EIN).
You can also pay estimated taxes by mail with the IRS Form 1040-ES. Download the pdf to calculate your estimated taxes, then fill out one of the vouchers on the form to send along with your estimated tax payment.
For more information about estimated taxes, check out the estimated tax guide on our sister site, or visit these IRS resources: