If you have not already done so, now is the time to review your tax situation and make an estimated quarterly tax payment using Form 1040-ES. The 2018 fourth-quarter due date is now here.
Normal due date: Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Remember you are required to withhold at least 90 percent of your current tax obligation or 100 percent of last year’s federal tax obligation.* A quick look at last year’s tax return and a projection of this year’s obligation can help determine if a payment is necessary. Here are some other things to consider:
Underpayment penalty. If you do not have proper tax withholdings, you could be subject to an underpayment penalty. The penalty can occur if you do not have proper withholdings throughout the year. So a payment at the end of the year may not help avoid the underpayment penalty.
Self-employed. Remember to account for the need to pay your Social Security and Medicare taxes as well. Creating and funding a savings account for this purpose can help avoid the cash flow hit each quarter when you pay your estimated taxes.
Don’t forget state obligations. With the exception of a few states, you are often required to make estimated state tax payments when required to do so for your federal tax obligations. Consider conducting a review of your state obligations to ensure you meet these quarterly estimated tax payments as well.
* If your income is over $150,000 ($75,000 if married filing separate), you must pay 110% of last year’s tax obligation to be safe from an underpayment penalty.