Small Business Tax Preparation Guide

9. How to File Quarterly Taxes

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How to File Quarterly Taxes

Apr 27, 2023 • 4 min read
Self employed individual filing their quarterly taxes
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      If you’re self-employed or a business owner, chances are one of the biggest gripes you have about your job is filing taxes. Since you don’t get them taken out of your paycheck as an employee would, you have to figure out taxes all on your own.

      Choosing the right accounting software can help you estimate your taxes, but you’ll still have to go through the process of paying them. Here’s a guide to make filing your quarterly taxes a breeze.

      Who is required to file quarterly estimated taxes?

      If you’re a freelancer, independent contractor, or single business owner who makes over $1,000 annually, you have to pay your estimated taxes every quarter, in addition to filing your taxes annually. 

      What do quarterly taxes include?

      There are two categories:

      • Self-employment tax – 15.3% for Medicare and Social Security Tax (if you are a self-employed person you pay the employer and employee portion or all of it.)
      • Income tax – Taxes at your income tax rate

      How to calculate your estimated quarterly taxes.

      You’ll start by figuring out your taxable income, equal to your gross income minus any deductions for which you are eligible. Once you have your taxable income, you can use IRS form 1040-ES for individuals or form 1120-W for corporations to calculate your estimated taxes. This amount will include your income tax, as well as a self-employment tax. Divide your annual tax burden by four to calculate your quarterly taxes.

      Pay your estimated taxes by the deadline each quarter.

      Quarterly estimated taxes for 2024 are due on April 15, 2024, for the first quarter, June 17, 2024, for the second quarter, September 16, 2024, for the third quarter, and January 15, 2025 for the fourth quarter. If you fail to pay your estimated quarterly taxes by the deadline each quarter, you could face a penalty from the IRS.

      Anticipate changes in your income or expenses.

      Few businesses have consistent income and expense levels from quarter to quarter. You’ll want your quarterly estimated taxes to reflect your business’ finances each quarter. Otherwise, you could end up underpaying or overpaying, both of which can trigger a penalty.

      You can do this by anticipating major changes to your income or expenses and saving money for your tax payments accordingly.

      How to pay quarterly taxes.

      You can pay your taxes in any of several ways:

      • Pay online – You can go to and pay by selecting ‘Pay now with direct pay using your bank account” or “Pay now with card or digital wallet using a credit card.”
      • Pay by phone – You can enroll in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment Service (EFTPS) and, using a voice response system, pay your taxes over the phone.
      • Pay by app – The IRS2Go app can be downloaded right on your phone or tablet.
      • Pay by cash or check – The address is on the tax form.
      About the author
      Dana Wall

      I am a director-level Accounting and Finance Professional with over 20 years of progressive experience in the Entertainment industry. My career has allowed me to lead all accounting actions for large organizations, including month-end close, budget analysis, and internal controls. I am a CPA with a MBA from the University of California, Irvine.

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