IRS Estimated Taxes Due Dates 2015

irsclipIf 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:

  1. You expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax for 2015, after subtracting your withholding and refundable credits.
  2. 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.

Sources: IRS Pub 505, IRS Pub 509, IRS Form 1040-ES [pdf].

Comments

  1. I was wondering why you left off IRS Direct Pay. Seems like an easier way than EFTPS and also without fees.

    • Didn’t know about Direct Pay until today, thanks for the tip! I still like EFTPS as it keeps a nice record of historical payments and remembers my bank info so I just have to make a few clicks. The sign-up and multiple password process is a bit of a pain though.

  2. I did this last week. In prior years I found EFTPS to take too long and be a hassle to set-up, so I have always sent in a check. But this year I saw something new, IRS Direct Pay. Go to the IRS website and search “Direct Pay.” You can basically just verify your identity and put in your bank account number and routing number and a payment date and they will directly deduct the funds from your checking account. No fees.

  3. Added info about Direct Pay. Direct Pay has 30-day advance scheduling of payments, but they won’t store your bank information for future payments. Looks like EFTPS.gov is better for repeat quarterly users, and Direct Pay is best for occasional or one-time use.

  4. Jonathan
    Would be nice to know you if you ever were hit with a cash advance for these tax payments. Specially for CITI cards.

    Do CITI treat this as cash advance or purchase? What about bank of america and capitalone?

    Secondly, if I am on a W2, can I still make quarterly payments via my credit card. What does IRS publication 505 says about people who are on W2. Can they make Qtr estimated payments Or are there prohibited since their deduction is via their paycheck?

    • I have never had my credit card payments classified as a cash advance. Here is a quote from PayUSATax FAQ page:

      “11.Will I be charged a cash advance fee?
      No, your tax payment will be treated like a retail purchase and not a cash advance purchase.”

  5. If I make early tax payments through IRS Direct Pay will I receive a W2 or any record of my paid amount for when I file?

    • If it anything like EFTPS, you will get a confirmation number from them. You can also request transcripts from IRS directly if you want to super-duper confirm that they have your payment on file.

  6. Hi Jonathan,
    Thank you for the helpful post. I forgot to post my last installment of the 2014 Estimated Tax. Should I still send payment in? I don’t intend to file until next month.
    Thank you,
    Anna

  7. I did not receive any income until April 2015. How do I figure my estimated taxes for the rest of the year? I need to pay in June, Sept and Jan but are they all equal payments? Like I figure my taxes and divide by 3?

  8. I am paying 2015 estimated quarterly taxes. Am I automatically penalized if I do not make the quarterly due dates, or am I only penalized if I do not pay the total by the end of 2015? For example, instead of paying quarterly, if I paid the total by January 15th 2016 would I pay any penalties?

    • There is a specific IRS spreadsheet for this, but if you make your money mostly equally throughout the year, then you should make the tax payments in 4 more or less equal payments as well. If you don’t, IRS may assess penalties if you wait until the last minute and make a lump sum payment.

  9. John Anthony La Pietra says:

    I had low enough income last year, and late enough self-employment income this year (as an “independent contractor”), that (at least as I read Publication 505) I was/am not required to file estimated taxes for 2015. But my income this year is significantly up, and I know my family’s taxes for the year are a bunch more than we’ve paid so far by any means. Can I use Direct Pay or EFTPS to make a payment *without* triggering automatic quarterly estimated filing for next year?

    (Not only do I remember the aggravation my mother had with estimated filing on her independent bookstore and want to avoid them myself, but the project which is paying so well now could disappear at almost any time — though of course I hope it won’t.)

    Of course, if my estimate is too low I might still get tripped up by the quarterly “hurdles” — but I’ll take responsibility for my own math. I just want someone who knows to tell me if this can work (and the IRS isn’t talking, not via phone or Website) . . . and, if so, do I have until January 15 (or February 1) to make the payment, or do I need to do something by year’s end?

    • John Anthony La Pietra says:

      I wound up punting as best I could . . . made a good-sized *voluntary* prepayment Dec 29 (overnighted the check, in fact) — then made sure to get my taxes done in time to file yesterday, which (AFAIK) was the deadline to file to avoid penalties if I *had* been required to file quarterly. (And I put in the previous payment on 1040 Line 70 for other taxes paid.) Thinking and hoping this is good enough. Any comments?

      • John my husband is a self employed contract employee as a counselor and he made a substancial amount of money for 2015 and I have a paycheck salary calculator I go by and my CPA said keep making monthly payments to State and Fed because I did not still pay in enough for him. I just wish there was a better system to do this. Its horrible so I know your pain. Just an FYI you dont have to pay every quarter you can pay the payments monthly. Sure wish I would of know that sooner. Good luck!!

  10. Tony Conte says:

    Is it too late to make quarterly catch-up payments to the IRS for 2015? I’m willing to write a check today for what I owe. I made the appropriate payment during the first quarter and then forgot about it. My other option, it would seem, is to take the financial consequences of not paying for Q 2, Q 3, & Q 4 and catch up when I file my return on April 15, 2016.

  11. Candace C McCall says:

    I have lost the figure my dad paid for his estimated taxes this year. I am his POA. How do I find how much I sent in in 2015? Is there a phone number to call.?

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