Yes, you can pay quarterly estimated taxes online!
When I was a newbie freelancer back in 2013 I was pretty confused by the concept of paying income taxes four times a year, instead of just once a year like employees do. For more details on quarterly estimated taxes and how and why freelancers pay them, please see my Freelancer’s Guide to Quarterly Estimated Taxes.
When Are Quarterly Estimated Taxes Due?
Depending on the year, the exact date can vary by a day or two, but in general, this is the schedule for when quarterly estimated taxes are due:
- April 15 (yup, that means as a freelancer, your income tax return AND quarterly estimated tax payment are due on the SAME DAY. Ouch.)
- June 15
- September 15
- January 15 of the following year (which covers the last quarter of the previous year)
How Can I Pay Quarterly Estimated Taxes Online?
To pay quarterly estimated taxes, traditionally you would have a little paper voucher called the Form 1040-ES, and you would mail that, along with a check, to the IRS. The envelope would need to be postmarked on or before the due date for it to count as a timely payment.
If you’re scrambling to pay last minute or don’t want to use paper or snail mail, here’s how you can easily pay quarterly estimated taxes online (something many don’t realize):
Option One: Direct debit from your checking or savings account via IRS Direct Pay
Step 1: Visit the IRS Direct Pay site and select “Make a Payment.”
Step 2: Select 1040, Estimated Tax, and the current year.
Step 3: You’ll have to verify your identity with tax info from previous filings.
Step 4: Enter your checking or savings account information and schedule your payment.
LAST-MINUTE PAYMENT? You can only schedule a payment a minimum of 24 hours in advance! If you try to schedule a payment the DAY the ESTIMATED TAX IS DUE, you will NOT be able to do it! However, not to worry! The IRS site states that even if you schedule it for the day AFTER IT IS DUE, you will NOT be charged penalties. So basically it sounds like you get a 1-day grace period.
OPTION TWO: You can pay your quarterly estimated taxes via IRS-approved third-party websites using your debit or credit card.
Cost: Convenience fees starting at $2.25 for debit cards and 1.87% for credit cards.
I have paid my quarterly estimated taxes with PayUSAtax.com before, so I can assure you it is legit, but because you have to pay a convenience fee, I’d recommend using option one and paying directly on the IRS website. Avoid paying your taxes with your credit card, as this incurs a fee of at least 1.87% of whatever your tax payment is.
Hope this helps!