By Trinae Rose, Director of Business Development for AccountAbility for Business
In the US, we are on a pay as you go tax system. If you have a W2, income tax is withheld from each paycheck based on the W4. If you have income from other sources, such as self employment, 1099’s, stock sales or dividends, or rental properties you may be required to pay estimated tax payments throughout the year. This is intended to make it easier for taxpayers to pay their taxes throughout the year instead of one lump sum at the end of the year. Or, you could say that it ensures the IRS receives payments by making the payment smaller and dividing it in to quarterly payments instead of requiring payment for the whole sum after the tax return is prepared. The quarterly estimated payments are based on the AGI and your tax rate as well as the capital gains tax rate or self employment rate from the previous year.
Individuals, including sole proprietors, partners, and S corporation shareholders, generally have to make estimated tax payments if they expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when their return is filed.
The penalty for not paying your quarterly estimated payment varies from quarter to quarter. The IRS will calculate your penalty for you. The penalty rate is the federal short term rate + 3%. In 2020, the Q2 rate for underpayment was 5% but then it dropped to 3% in Q3. When you pay your quarterly estimated payments also matters when determining your penalty. You could pay the entire amount, but still be penalized if it is not paid by the due date.
For Texas residents impacted by the winter storm, the Q1 and Q2 payments are due on June 15th in 2021. Q3 payment is due September 15th and Q4 payment is due January 15th of 2022. Typically, Q1 payment is due April 15th.