IRS Reminds Taxpayers to Make April 15 Estimated Tax Payment

  • Income taxes are pay-as-you-go, which means by law taxes must be paid as income is earned or received during the year.
  • Most often, those who are self-employed or in the sharing economy need to make estimated tax payments.
  • Tax help is available 24/7 on IRS.gov.

The Internal Revenue Service reminds self-employed individuals, retirees, investors, businesses, corporations and others who pay their taxes quarterly that the payment for the first quarter of 2021 is due Thursday, April 15, 2021.

The extension to May 17, 2021 for individuals to file their 2020 federal income taxes does not apply to estimated tax payments. The 2021 Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, can help taxpayers estimate their first quarterly tax payment.

Income taxes are pay-as-you-go. This means, by law, taxes must be paid as income is earned or received during the year. Most people pay their taxes through withholding from paychecks, pension payments, Social Security benefits or certain other government payments including unemployment compensation.

Most often, those who are self-employed or in the sharing economy need to make estimated tax payments. Similarly, investors, retirees and others often need to make these payments because a substantial portion of their income is not subject to withholding. Other income generally not subject to withholding includes interest, dividends, capital gains, alimony and rental income. Paying quarterly estimated taxes will usually lessen and may even eliminate any penalties.

Exceptions to the penalty and special rules apply to some groups of taxpayers, such as farmers, fishermen, casualty and disaster victims, those who recently became disabled, recent retirees and those who receive income unevenly during the year. See Form 2210, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals, Estates and Trusts, and its instructions for more information.

How to pay estimated taxes

Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, includes instructions to help taxpayers figure their estimated taxes. They can also visit IRS.gov/payments to pay electronically. The fastest and easiest ways to make an estimated tax payment is by using IRS Direct Pay, the IRS2Go app or the Treasury Department’s Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). For information on other payment options, visit IRS.gov/payments. If paying by check, taxpayers should be sure to make the check payable to the “United States Treasury.”

Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, has additional details, including worksheets and examples, that can be especially helpful to those who have dividend or capital gain income, owe alternative minimum tax or self-employment tax, or have other special situations.

IRS.gov assistance 24/7

Tax help is available 24/7 on IRS.gov. The IRS website offers a variety of online tools to help taxpayers answer common tax questions. For example, taxpayers can search the Interactive Tax Assistant, Tax Topics, Frequently Asked Questions, and Tax Trails to get answers to common questions.

The IRS is continuing to expand ways to communicate to taxpayers who prefer to get information in other languages. The IRS has posted translated tax resources in 20 other languages on IRS.gov. For more information, see “We Speak Your Language.”

Filomena Mealy

Filomena is a Relationship Manager for the Tax Outreach, Partnership and Education Branch of the Internal Revenue Service's.  Her responsibilities include developing outreach partnerships with non-tax companies, organizations and associations, such as the banking industry to educate and communicate changes in tax law, policy and procedures. She has provided content and served as a contributor to various associations and online media sources.
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