Estimated Quarterly Tax Payments

Estimated quarterly tax payments apply to self-employed individuals, as well as those with forms of non-wage income. This type of tax payment must be filed by those who qualify, and there are penalties if the deadlines are missed.

Thomas Brock, CFA, CPA, expert contributor to
  • Written By
    Thomas J. Brock, CFA®, CPA

    Thomas J. Brock, CFA®, CPA

    Expert Contributor

    Thomas Brock, CFA®, CPA, is a financial professional with over 20 years of experience in investments, corporate finance and accounting. He currently oversees the investment operation for a $4 billion super-regional insurance carrier.

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    Lamia Chowdhury
    Lamia Chowdhury

    Lamia Chowdhury

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    Lamia Chowdhury is a financial editor at Lamia carries an extensive skillset in the content marketing field, and her work as a copywriter spans industries as diverse as finance, health care, travel and restaurants.

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    Peggy James CPA

    Peggy James, CPA

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    Peggy James is a certified public accountant with a Master of Accounting. She has spent the past several years of her career focused on working in higher education finance roles. Peggy also has accounting and finance experience working in the corporate and nonprofit sectors.

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  • Updated: March 20, 2023
  • 4 min read time
  • This page features 9 Cited Research Articles
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APA Brock, T. J. (2023, March 20). Estimated Quarterly Tax Payments. Retrieved April 1, 2023, from

MLA Brock, Thomas J. "Estimated Quarterly Tax Payments.", 20 Mar 2023,

Chicago Brock, Thomas J. "Estimated Quarterly Tax Payments." Last modified March 20, 2023.

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Key Takeaways
  • Self-employed individuals and those with other forms of non-wage income need to comply with IRS deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments to avoid underpayment penalties.
  • It can be difficult to determine the amount you need to pay each quarter, but there is a simplified approach that entails referencing your prior year’s tax return.
  • Generally, quarterly tax payments are made in four equal installments. However, fluctuating earnings can warrant unequal payments.

What Are Estimated Quarterly Taxes?

Estimated quarterly taxes are an obligation that the IRS imposes on self-employed individuals and those with other forms of non-wage income, such as investment income and gambling winnings. Unlike W-2 salaries and wages, there is no automatic federal tax withholding on these sources of income.

Nevertheless, this does not prevent the IRS from collecting its share of the money. The IRS mandates estimated quarterly payments to ensure it collects your income tax throughout the year. Failure to comply can impact your personal finances and result in a penalty for underpayment.

When Are Estimated Quarterly Taxes Due?

The deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments for the fourth quarter of 2022 and all four quarters of 2023 are summarized below.

  • Jan. 16, 2023
    Q4 2022 Estimated Payments
  • April 18, 2023
    Q1 2023 Estimated Payments
  • June 15, 2023
    Q2 2023 Estimated Payments
  • Sept. 15, 2023
    Q3 2023 Estimated Payments
  • Jan. 16, 2024
    Q4 2023 Estimated Payments
Source: Internal Revenue Service

Who Must Pay Estimated Quarterly Taxes?

According to the IRS, individuals — including sole proprietors, partners and S corporation shareholders — generally must make estimated tax payments if they expect to owe $1,000 or more in tax when their return is filed.

Essentially, if you are self-employed or have passive streams of income — such as interest income, dividends and capital gains from asset disposals — you most likely need to make estimated tax payments each quarter.

That said, if you receive salaries and wages (W-2 earnings), you can avoid having to make estimated tax payments by asking your employer to withhold more federal tax from your earnings. To do so, you need to file a new Form W-4 with your employer and indicate the additional amount you want withheld.

If at filing time, you have not paid enough taxes through withholdings or estimated quarterly payments, you may have to pay a penalty for underpayment.

How To Calculate Estimated Quarterly Taxes

The most comprehensive way for a self-employed individual to estimate their quarterly tax obligation is to use Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals. Unfortunately, navigating the instructions can be quite cumbersome. Oftentimes, it entails assistance from a tax professional. If you are doing it alone and want a more straightforward approach, there are four steps you can follow.

4 Steps To Calculating Quarterly Taxes
  1. Pull your 2022 federal tax return, which must be filed on or before April 18, 2023.
  2. Take the calendar year tax liability (line 24 on Form 1040).
  3. Divide it by four (assuming this amount will approximate your 2023 obligation). However, if your adjusted gross income (line 11 on Form 1040) is greater than $150,000 ($75,000 for those who are married filing separately), you must take the amount from Step 2 and multiply it by 1.10. Then, divide the result by four.
  4. Send quarterly payments to the IRS each quarter by the deadlines illustrated above.

This simplified approach will enable you to avoid the IRS’ penalty for underpayment. However, if your income has declined significantly since last year, a more precise estimation methodology is recommended.

How To Pay Estimated Quarterly Taxes

Generally, quarterly tax payments should be made in four equal installments on or before the deadlines established by the IRS. However, fluctuating earnings can warrant unequal payments.

Regardless of your payment plan, there are several ways to remit your obligations.

Ways To Pay Quarterly Taxes

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Last Modified: March 20, 2023

9 Cited Research Articles writers adhere to strict sourcing guidelines and use only credible sources of information, including authoritative financial publications, academic organizations, peer-reviewed journals, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports, court records and interviews with qualified experts. You can read more about our commitment to accuracy, fairness and transparency in our editorial guidelines.

  1. Internal Revenue Service. (2023, January 20). Estimated Taxes. Retrieved from
  2. Internal Revenue Service. (2023, January 11). About Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Certificate. Retrieved from
  3. Internal Revenue Service. (2023, January 5). About Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Retrieved from
  4. Internal Revenue Service. (2023, January 5). Pay Your Taxes by Debit or Credit Card or Digital Wallet. Retrieved from
  5. Internal Revenue Service. (2022, October 3). About Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Retrieved from
  6. Internal Revenue Service. (2022, September 23). About Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals. Retrieved from
  7. Internal Revenue Service. (2022, August 26). EFTPS: The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Retrieved from
  8. Internal Revenue Service. (2022, August 25). Direct Pay with Bank Account. Retrieved from
  9. Internal Revenue Service. (2022, August 25). IRS2Go Mobile App. Retrieved from