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Here’s how and when to pay estimated taxes

IRS Tax Reform Tax Tip 2018-140, September 10, 2018

Certain taxpayers must make estimated tax payments throughout the year. Taxpayers must generally pay at least 90 percent of their taxes throughout the year through withholding, estimated tax payments or a combination of the two. If they don’t, they may owe an estimated tax penalty. 

For tax-year 2018, the remaining estimated tax payment due dates are Sept. 17, 2018 and Jan. 15, 2019.

Estimated tax is the method used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding. This income includes earnings from self-employment, interest, dividends, rents, and alimony. Taxpayers who do not choose to have taxes withheld from other taxable income should also make estimated tax payments. This other income includes unemployment compensation and the taxable part of Social Security benefits.

The IRS urges everyone who works as an employee and who also earns or has income from other sources to perform a Paycheck Checkup now. Doing so will help avoid an unexpected year-end tax bill and possibly a penalty when the taxpayer files their 2018 tax return next year. They can do a checkup using the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov.

Here are some things to know for taxpayers who make estimated payments :

  • Taxpayers can pay their taxes throughout the year anytime. They must select the tax year and tax type or form when paying electronically.
  • Filers paying by check should make it out to the “United States Treasury” and indicate the tax year and type of taxes they are paying.
  • Taxpayers in presidentially-declared disaster areas may have more time to make these payments without penalty.
  • For easy and secure ways to make estimated tax payments, use is IRS Direct Pay or the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. IRS.gov/payments has information on all payment options.
  • Taxpayers can find more information about tax withholding and estimated tax at the Pay As You Go page IRS.gov.
  • Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, is another resource for taxpayers. Publication 505 has worksheets and examples, which can help taxpayers determine whether they should pay estimated tax.

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