Don’t let penalties for underpaid taxes increase your tax bill next April. Check the total you’ve paid in 2016 through withholding and/or estimated taxes. If you’ve underpaid, consider adjusting your withholding for the final months of the year or increasing your remaining quarterly estimate. If you employ household workers, be sure your calculations include the payroll taxes you’ll owe for them. Remember to include the 3.8% tax on net investment income in your planning too.
If you’re required to make quarterly estimated tax payments this year, the first one is due on the same day as your federal income tax return. Failing to pay estimates, or not paying enough, may lead to penalties. Here’s what to consider.
Do you need to make estimates? If you operate your own business, or receive alimony, investment, or other income that’s not subject to withholding, you may have to pay the tax due in installments. Each estimated tax installment is a partial prepayment of the total amount you expect to owe for 2016. You make the payment yourself, typically four times a year.
How much do you need to pay? To avoid penalties, your estimated payments must equal 90% of your 2016 tax or 100% of the tax on your 2015 return (110% if your adjusted gross income was over $150,000).
There are exceptions to the general rule. For instance, say you anticipate the balance due on your 2016 federal individual income tax return will be less than $1,000 after subtracting withholding and credits. In this case, you can skip the estimated payments and remit the final balance with your return next April.
Contact us for more information about estimated tax payments.
Yes, the federal income tax filing deadline is slightly later than usual this year — April 18 — but it’s now nearly upon us. So, if you haven’t filed your return yet, you may be thinking about an extension.
Filing for an extension allows you to delay filing your return until the applicable extension deadline:
• Individuals — October 17, 2016
• Trusts and estates — September 15, 2016
While filing for an extension can provide relief from April 18 deadline stress, it’s important to consider the perils:
• If you expect to owe tax, keep in mind that, to avoid potential interest and penalties, you still must (with a few exceptions) pay any tax due by April 18.
• If you expect a refund, remember that you’re simply extending the amount of time your money is in the government’s pockets rather than your own.
A tax-smart move?
Filing for an extension can still be tax-smart if you’re missing critical documents or you face unexpected life events that prevent you from devoting sufficient time to your return right now. Please contact us if you need help or have questions about avoiding interest and penalties.