Tax Resources
State And Federal

Federal Form 1040-Es Instructions

Purpose of This Package

Use Form 1040-ES to figure and pay your estimated tax for 2015.

Estimated tax is the method used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding (for example, earnings from self-employment, interest, dividends, rents, alimony, etc.). In addition, if you do not elect voluntary withholding, you should make estimated tax payments on other taxable income, such as unemployment compensation and the taxable part of your social security benefits.

Change of address. If your address has changed, file Form 8822, Change of Address, to update your record.

Future developments. For the latest information about developments related to Form 1040-ES and its instructions, such as legislation enacted after they were published, go to www.irs.gov/form1040es.

Who Must Make Estimated Tax Payments

The estimated tax rules apply to:

  • U.S. citizens and resident aliens;
  • Residents of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa; and
  • Nonresident aliens (use Form 1040-ES (NR)).

General Rule

In most cases, you must pay estimated tax for 2015 if both of the following apply.

  1. You expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax for 2015, after subtracting your withholding and refundable credits.
  2. You expect your withholding and refundable credits to be less than the smaller of:
    1. 90% of the tax to be shown on your 2015 tax return, or
    2. 100% of the tax shown on your 2014 tax return. Your 2014 tax return must cover all 12 months.
     

Note. These percentages may be different if you are a farmer, fisherman, or higher income taxpayer. See Special Rules, later.

Exception. You do not have to pay estimated tax for 2015 if you were a U.S. citizen or resident alien for all of 2014 and you had no tax liability for the full 12-month 2014 tax year. You had no tax liability for 2014 if your total tax was zero or you did not have to file an income tax return.

Special Rules

There are special rules for farmers, fishermen, certain household employers, and certain higher income taxpayers.

Farmers and fishermen. If at least two-thirds of your gross income for 2014 or 2015 is from farming or fishing, substitute 66 23% for 90% in (2a) under General Rule.

Household employers. When estimating the tax on your 2015 tax return, include your household employment taxes if either of the following applies.

  • You will have federal income tax withheld from wages, pensions, annuities, gambling winnings, or other income.
  • You would be required to make estimated tax payments to avoid a penalty even if you did not include household employment taxes when figuring your estimated tax.

Higher income taxpayers. If your adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2014 was more than $150,000 ($75,000 if your filing status for 2015 is married filing separately), substitute 110% for 100% in (2b) under General Rule, earlier. This rule does not apply to farmers or fishermen.

Increase Your Withholding

If you also receive salaries and wages, you may be able to avoid having to make estimated tax payments on your other income by asking your employer to take more tax out of your earnings. To do this, file a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, with your employer.

Generally, if you receive a pension or annuity you can use Form W-4P, Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments, to start or change your withholding from these payments.

You also can choose to have federal income tax withheld from certain government payments. For details, see Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request.

Additional Information You May Need

You can find most of the information you will need in Pub. 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.

Other available information:

  • Instructions for the 2014 Form 1040 or Form 1040A.
  • Important Changes. Go to IRS.gov, click on Forms & Pubs, and then on Changes to Current Forms and Publications.

For details on how to get forms and publications, see the 2014 Instructions for Form 1040 or Form 1040A. If you have tax questions, call 1-800-829-1040 for assistance. For TTY/TDD help, call 1-800-829-4059. Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service available at www.gsa.gov/fedrelay.

What's New

Use your 2014 tax return as a guide in figuring your 2015 estimated tax, but be sure to consider the following.

Standard deduction. If you do not itemize your deductions, you can take the 2015 standard deduction listed in the following chart for your filing status.

IF your 2015 filing status is...

THEN your standard deduction is...

Married filing jointly or Qualifying widow(er)

$12,600

Head of household

$9,250

Single or Married filing separately

$6,300

However, if you can be claimed as a dependent on another person's 2015 return, your standard deduction is the greater of:

  • $1,050, or
  • Your earned income plus $350 (up to the standard deduction amount).

Your standard deduction is increased by the following amount if, at the end of 2015, you are:

  • An unmarried individual (single or head of household) and are:

65 or older or blind............ $1,550

65 or older and blind...........$3,100

  • A married individual (filing jointly or separately) or a qualifying widow(er) and are:

65 or older or blind............... $1,250

65 or older and blind.............$2,500

Both spouses 65 or older.......$2,500*

Both spouses 65 or older and blind......$5,000*

* If married filing separately, these amounts apply only if you can claim an exemption for your spouse.

CAUTION. Your standard deduction is zero if (a) your spouse itemizes on a separate return, or (b) you were a dual-status alien and you do not elect to be taxed as a resident alien for 2015.

Personal exemption amount increased for certain taxpayers. For tax years beginning in 2015, the personal exemption amount is increased to $4,000 for taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes below $154,950. The personal exemption amount for taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes above this amount may be reduced.

Limitation on itemized deductions. For tax year 2015, itemized deductions for taxpayers with adjusted gross income above $154,950 may be reduced.

Social security tax. For 2015, the maximum amount of earned income (wages and net earnings from self-employment) subject to the social security tax is $118,500.

Reminders

Health care coverage. When you file your 2015 tax return in 2016, you will need to either (1) indicate on your return that you and your family had health care coverage throughout 2015, (2) claim an exemption from the health care coverage requirement for some or all of 2015, or (3) make a payment if you do not have coverage or an exemption(s) for all 12 months of 2015. See Form 8965 and its instructions for more information.

Advance payments of the premium tax credit. If you buy health care insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be eligible for advance payments of the premium tax credit to help pay for your insurance coverage. Receiving too little or too much in advance will affect your refund or balance due. Promptly report changes in your income or family size to your Marketplace. You may want to consider this when figuring your estimated taxes for 2015. See Form 8962 and its instructions for more information.

How To Figure Your Estimated Tax

You will need:

  • The 2015 Estimated Tax Worksheet,
  • The Instructions for the 2015 Estimated Tax Worksheet,
  • The 2015 Tax Rate Schedules, and
  • Your 2014 tax return and instructions to use as a guide to figuring your income, deductions, and credits (but be sure to consider the items listed under What's New, earlier).

Matching estimated tax payments to income. If you receive your income unevenly throughout the year (for example, because you operate your business on a seasonal basis or you have a large capital gain late in the year), you may be able to lower or eliminate the amount of your required estimated tax payment for one or more periods by using the annualized income installment method. See chapter 2 of Pub. 505 for details.

Changing your estimated tax. To amend or correct your estimated tax, see How To Amend Estimated Tax Payments, later.

CAUTION. You cannot make joint estimated tax payments if you or your spouse is a nonresident alien, you are separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance, or you and your spouse have different tax years.

Additionally, individuals of the same sex and opposite sex who are in registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or other similar formal relationships that are not marriages under state law cannot make joint estimated tax payments. These individuals can take credit only for the estimated tax payments that he or she made.

Payment Due Dates

You can pay all of your estimated tax by April 15, 2015, or in four equal amounts by the dates shown below.

1st payment

April 15, 2015

2nd payment

June 15, 2015

3rd payment

Sept. 15, 2015

4th payment

Jan. 15, 2016*

* You do not have to make the payment due January 15, 2016, if you file your 2015 tax return by February 1, 2016, and pay the entire balance due with your return.

If you mail your payment and it is postmarked by the due date, the date of the U.S. postmark is considered the date of payment. If your payments are late or you did not pay enough, you may be charged a penalty for underpaying your tax. See When a Penalty Is Applied, later.

TIP. You can make more than four estimated tax payments. To do so, make a copy of one of your unused estimated tax payment vouchers, fill it in, and mail it with your payment. If you make more than four payments, to avoid a penalty, make sure the total of the amounts you pay during a payment period is at least as much as the amount required to be paid by the due date for that period. For other payment methods, see How To Pay Estimated Tax, later.

No income subject to estimated tax during first pay- ment period. If, after March 31, 2015, you have a large change in income, deductions, additional taxes, or credits that requires you to start making estimated tax payments, you should figure the amount of your estimated tax payments by using the annualized income installment method, explained in chapter 2 of Pub. 505. If you use the annualized income installment method, file Form 2210, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals, Estates, and Trusts, including Schedule AI, with your 2015 tax return even if no penalty is owed.

Farmers and fishermen. If at least two-thirds of your gross income for 2014 or 2015 is from farming or fishing, you can do one of the following.

  • Pay all of your estimated tax by January 15, 2016.
  • File your 2015 Form 1040 by March 1, 2016, and pay the total tax due. In this case, 2015 estimated tax payments are not required to avoid a penalty.

Fiscal year taxpayers. You are on a fiscal year if your 12-month tax period ends on any day except December 31. Due dates for fiscal year taxpayers are the 15th day of the 4th, 6th, and 9th months of your current fiscal year and the 1st month of the following fiscal year. If any payment date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, use the next business day.

Name Change

If you changed your name because of marriage, divorce, etc., and you made estimated tax payments using your former name, attach a statement to the front of your 2015 paper tax return. On the statement, show all of the estimated tax payments you (and your spouse, if filing jointly) made for 2015 and the name(s) and SSN(s) under which you made the payments.

Be sure to report the change to your local Social Security Administration office before filing your 2015 tax return. This prevents delays in processing your return and issuing refunds. It also safeguards your future social security benefits. For more details, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY/TDD 1-800-325-0778).

How To Amend Estimated Tax Payments

To change or amend your estimated tax payments, refigure your total estimated tax payments due (see the 2015 Estimated Tax Worksheet). Then, to figure the payment due for each remaining payment period, see Amended estimated tax in chapter 2 of Pub. 505. If an estimated tax payment for a previous period is less than one-fourth of your amended estimated tax, you may owe a penalty when you file your return.

When a Penalty Is Applied

In some cases, you may owe a penalty when you file your return. The penalty is imposed on each underpayment for the number of days it remains unpaid. A penalty may be applied if you did not pay enough estimated tax for the year or you did not make the payments on time or in the required amount. A penalty may apply even if you have an overpayment on your tax return.

The penalty may be waived under certain conditions. See chapter 4 of Pub. 505 for details.

How To Pay Estimated Tax

Pay Online

Paying online is convenient and secure and helps make sure we get your payments on time. You can pay using either of the following electronic payment methods.

  • Direct transfer from your bank account. Go to IRS.gov. Click on "Pay Your Tax Bill" and then "Direct Pay."
  • Debit or credit card.

To pay your taxes online or for more information, go to www.irs.gov/payments.

Pay by Phone

Paying by phone is another safe and secure method of paying electronically. Use one of the following methods.

  • Direct transfer using Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).
  • Debit or credit card.

Direct Transfer. To use EFTPS, you must be enrolled. You can enroll online or have an enrollment form mailed to you. To make a payment using EFPTS, call 1-800-555-4477 (English) or 1-800-244-4829 (Espanol). People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-800-733-4829. For more information about EFTPS, go to www.irs.gov/payments.

Debit or credit card. To pay using a debit or credit card, you can call one of the following service providers. There is a convenience fee charged by these providers that varies by provider, card type, and payment amount.

Official Payments Corporation
1-888-UPAY-TAXTM (1-888-872-9829)
www.officialpayments.com

Link2Gov Corporation
1-888-PAY-1040TM(1-888-729-1040)
www.PAY1040.com

WorldPay US, Inc.
1-844-PAY-TAX-8TM (1-844-729-8298)
www.payUSAtax.com

For the latest details on how to pay by phone, go to www.irs.gov/payments.

Pay by Check or Money Order Using the Estimated Tax Payment Voucher

There is a separate estimated tax payment voucher for each due date. The due date is shown in the upper right corner. Complete and send in the voucher only if you are making a payment by check or money order. If you and your spouse plan to file separate returns, file separate vouchers instead of a joint voucher.

To complete the voucher, do the following.

  • Print or type your name, address, and SSN in the space provided on the estimated tax payment voucher. If filing a joint voucher, also enter your spouse's name and SSN. List the names and SSNs in the same order on the joint voucher as you will list them on your joint return.
  • Enter in the box provided on the estimated tax payment voucher only the amount you are sending in by check or money order. When making payments of estimated tax, be sure to take into account any 2014 overpayment that you choose to credit against your 2015 tax, but do not include the overpayment amount in this box.
  • Make your check or money order payable to "United States Treasury." Do not send cash. To help process your payment accurately, enter the amount on the right side of the check like this: $ XXX.XX. Do not use dashes or lines (for example, do not enter "$ XXX - " or "$ XXX xx100").
  • Enter "2015 Form 1040-ES" and your SSN on your check or money order. If you are filing a joint estimated tax payment voucher, enter the SSN that you will show first on your joint return.
  • Enclose, but do not staple or attach, your payment with the estimated tax payment voucher.

Instructions for the 2015 Estimated Tax Worksheet

Line 1. Adjusted gross income. Use your 2014 tax return and instructions as a guide to figuring the adjusted gross income you expect in 2015 (but be sure to consider the items listed under What's New, earlier). For more details on figuring your adjusted gross income, see Expected AGI - Line 1 in chapter 2 of Pub. 505.

If you are self-employed, be sure to take into account the deduction for self-employment tax. Use the 2015 Self-Employment Tax and Deduction Worksheet for Lines 1 and 11 of the Estimated Tax Worksheet to figure the amount to subtract when figuring your expected AGI. This worksheet also will give you the amount to enter on line 11 of your estimated tax worksheet.

Line 9. Credits. See the 2014 Form 1040, lines 48 through 54, or Form 1040A, lines 31 through 35, and the related instructions for the types of credits allowed.

Line 11. Self-employment tax. If you and your spouse make joint estimated tax payments and both of you have self-employment income, figure the self-employment tax for each of you separately. Enter the total on line 11. When estimating your 2015 net earnings from self-employment, be sure to use only 92.35% (.9235) of your total net profit from self-employment.

Line 12. Other taxes. Use the Instructions for the 2014 Form 1040 to determine if you expect to owe, for 2015, any of the taxes that would have been entered on your 2014 Form 1040, lines 59 (additional tax on distributions only), 60a, 60b, and 62 (including, if applicable, Additional Medicare Tax and/or Net Investment Income Tax). On line 12, enter the total of those taxes, subject to the following two exceptions.

Exception 1. Include household employment taxes from Form 1040, line 60a, on this line only if:

  • You will have federal income tax withheld from wages, pensions, annuities, gambling winnings, or other income, or
  • You would be required to make estimated tax payments (to avoid a penalty) even if you did not include household employment taxes when figuring your estimated tax. If you meet either of the above, include the total of your household employment taxes on line 12.

Exception 2. Of the amounts for other taxes that may be entered on Form 1040, line 62, do not include on line 12: recapture of a federal mortgage subsidy, uncollected social security and Medicare tax or RRTA tax on tips or group-term life insurance, excise tax on excess golden parachute payments, look-back interest due under section 167(g) or 460(b), or excise tax on insider stock compensation from an expatriated corporation. These taxes are not required to be paid until the due date of your income tax return (not including extensions).

Additional Medicare Tax. For information about the Additional Medicare Tax, see the Instructions for Form 8959.

Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT). For information about the Net Investment Income Tax, see the Instructions for Form 8960.

Recapture of first-time homebuyer credit. If you purchased a home in 2008 and claimed the first-time homebuyer credit, repayment of that credit began with your 2010 tax return and will continue until the credit is fully repaid. If the home ceases to be your main home, then the unpaid balance of the credit is to be repaid on the return for the year when the home was no longer your main home.

If you purchased a home in 2009, 2010, or 2011 and claimed the first-time homebuyer credit, you must maintain that home as your main home for at least 36 months to avoid having to repay the credit.

For details about repaying the first-time homebuyer credit, see the Instructions for Form 5405.

Line 14b. Prior year's tax. Enter the 2014 tax you figure according to the instructions in Figuring your 2014 tax unless you meet one of the following exceptions.

  • If the adjusted gross income shown on your 2014 return is more than $150,000 ($75,000 if married filing separately for 2015), enter 110% of your 2014 tax as figured next.

Note. This does not apply to farmers or fishermen.

  • If you will file a joint return for 2015 but you did not file a joint return for 2014, add the tax shown on your 2014 return to the tax shown on your spouse's 2014 return and enter the total on line 14b.
  • If you filed a joint return for 2014 but you will not file a joint return for 2015, see General Rule in chapter 4 of Pub. 505 to figure your share of the 2014 tax to enter on line 14b.
  • If you did not file a return for 2014 or your 2014 tax year was less than 12 full months, do not complete line 14b. Instead, enter the amount from line 14a on line 14c.

Figuring your 2014 tax. Use the following instructions to figure your 2014 tax.

  1. Form 1040 - The tax shown on your 2014 Form 1040 is the amount on line 63 reduced by:
    1. Unreported social security and Medicare tax or RRTA tax from Form 1040, line 58;
    2. Any tax included on line 59 on excess contributions to IRAs, Archer MSAs, Coverdell education savings accounts, and health savings accounts, or on excess accumulations in qualified retirement plans;
    3. Any shared responsibility payment on line 61;
    4. Amounts on line 62 as listed under Exception 2, earlier; and
    5. Any refundable credit amounts on lines 66a, 67, 68, 69, and 72.
     
  2. Form 1040A - The tax shown on your 2014 Form 1040A is the amount on line 39 reduced by the amount on line 38, and any refundable credits on lines 42a, 43, 44, and 45.
  3. Form 1040EZ - The tax shown on your 2014 Form 1040EZ is the amount on line 12 reduced by the amount on lines 8a and 11.