Tax planning and compliance for investors
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How and when to make estimated tax payments.
Making estimated tax payments is easy: you fill out a very simple form and mail it to the IRS with your check.
For nearly all taxpayers, the due date for the first estimated tax payment of each year is April 15 — the same day the return is due for the previous year. Subsequent payments are due June 15, September 15, and January 15 of the following year. You'll want to note the following points:
When you make estimated tax payments you need to enclose Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax Voucher. See Fairmark's Fast Form Finder. This form is about as simple as they get. It asks for your name, address and social security number — and just one other item: the amount you're paying.
You don't have to justify your estimated tax payments. In fact, there's no place for a signature on the form. When you send it in, you're not promising that this is the correct amount. All you're saying is "here's a payment on account."
That means you can choose to combine payments if you find that's convenient for you. For example, if you owe a smallish amount and don't want to be bothered making four payments, you can send the full amount in April. You won't get any special credit for making an early payment of the amounts due later in the year. But the IRS won't bug you for June and September payments just because you made an April payment and then stopped. (If this is your first estimate ever they'll send preprinted forms for the remaining three payments, but they won't complain if you don't use them.)
Be sure to keep an accurate record of your estimated tax payments so you can claim credit for them when you file your return.
If you're married, you can make joint estimated tax payments with your spouse except:
Paying joint estimated payments does not mean you have to file a joint return. But if you end up filing separately, you'll have to sort out who gets credit for what amount.
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