Estimated taxes don't have to be a quarterly source of frustration. For peace of mind on tax day, plan ahead to use one of these fail-safe estimated tax payment methods.
Direct Pay is a free service from the IRS that lets you make one-time estimated tax payments from a bank account. This bank account information is not stored on entering so would need to be re-entered with each payment.
Not saving sensitive account data is a big plus for security-conscious taxpayers. You can use the service without any form of pre-enrollment. Keep in mind that Direct Pay cannot be used to pay federal business taxes (you can use EFTPS for this purpose).
The IRS Direct Pay website takes you through five steps to complete payment.
Following payment, you can click "Look Up a Payment" on the IRS Direct Pay website to track payment status, edit or cancel a pending payment. You can make changes to a pending payment up to two days before the payment date.
EFTPS is the IRS' Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. It allows you to make estimated tax payments from a bank account. Unlike Direct Pay, EFTPS gives you a login and lets you store your payment information for future use.
Having an account profile means that you can make multiple or recurring payments via EFTPS. The service can be used to pay federal personal or business taxes.
Making a payment with EFTPS requires more upfront work than Direct Pay but is simple after enrollment.
If you want to pay estimated taxes via check or money order, you will need an estimated tax payment voucher. These are available toward the end of Form 1040-ES. There are four payment vouchers, one for each estimated tax deadline of the year.
Fill out the correct one and make your check or money order payable to the United States Treasury (not the IRS). Mail the voucher and payment to the appropriate processing center address identified in Form 1040-ES.