Thank goodness for the Tax Calendar there in the right-hand column of the ol' blog or this tax task might have caught me by surprise next week.
The fourth quarter estimated tax payment of 2008 is due Jan. 15.
Here's the 1040-ES package for 2008 in case you can't find your material or you received untaxed 2008 income for the first time last quarter.
Like your regular 1040, if you're sending it snail mail and your filing is postmarked by Jan. 15, then it's considered, in IRS speak, "timely filed."
And make sure you send it to the correct Internal Revenue Service Center. Estimated tax payments go to offices different from the processing centers that handle regular 1040s. This previous blog post has the appropriate mailing addresses for 2008 1040-ES filings.
A quick note about the address link above; that delivery data is for 2008 filings only. For the 2009 tax year, the IRS has shifted some responsibilities for handling ES vouchers. So if you're going to be making 2009 estimated payments (more on this in a minute), don't use those 2008 addresses. I'll be posting a 2009 version later, nearer the first 2009 1040-ES filing that's due in April.
Alternate payment options: As with your regular taxes, if you prefer you can pay your estimated amounts with a credit card. Uncle Sam has contracted with Link2Gov and Official Payments to handle the charges. Remember, though, that you'll pay a service fee if you pay this way
If you pay electronically via the IRS' Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or EFTPS, you need to take action ASAP. While this method is quick, it still takes some processing time. So go to your EFTPS account early this coming week to enter your payment instructions and ensure that your final 1040-ES payment for 2008 gets to the Treasury's account on time.
Other estimated options: If you can't make the Jan. 15 deadline, all isn't lost. If you file your 2008 tax return and pay all tax due by Feb. 2, the IRS gives you a pass on the tax year's final estimated payment.
Technically, this file-and-pay deadline is Jan. 31, but since that's a Saturday this year, you get until the next Monday.
But whether you make the Jan. 15 or Feb. 2 due date, just make sure you get your money to the IRS. If you underpay your estimated taxes, you could be hit with interest and penalties.
Time for 2009 ES planning: I know, I know. It's still early in the year and you're already sick of taxes. Sorry. But, as threatened promised a bit earlier in this post, you do need to do some planning if you'll be making 2009 estimated tax payments.
Mark these dates on your calendar so you don't have to rely solely on my last-minute alerts:
|On taxable income
|Is due on|
||Jan. 1 through March 31||April 15|
|2||April 1 through May 31||June 15|
|3||June 1 through Aug. 31||Sept. 15|
|4||Sept. 1 through Dec. 31||Jan. 15|
For 2009, all the 15th dates are good because those due dates this year don't fall on weekends or federal holidays. In years when that does happen, Uncle Sam gives you until the next business day to file.
While you're thinking of it, go ahead and download the 2009 1040-ES filing information, worksheet and vouchers.
And if you'd like to pay via EFTPS, go ahead and sign up now. As this previous post notes, it takes a little while to get the system in place. But once you set it up, you can use EFTPS to pay not only your estimated payments four times a year, but also your regular Form 1040 filing in April.