2021 Federal Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments

Generally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires you to make quarterly estimated tax payments for calendar year 2021 if both of the following apply:

  • you expect to owe at least $1,000 in federal tax for 2021, after subtracting federal tax withholding and refundable credits, and
  • you expect federal withholding and refundable credits to be less than the smaller of:
    • 90% of the tax to be shown on your 2021 federal tax return, or
    • 100% of the tax shown on your 2020 federal tax return (only applies if your 2020 tax return covered 12 months - otherwise refer to 90% rule above only).

To calculate your federal quarterly estimated tax payments, you must estimate your adjusted gross income, taxable income, taxes, deductions, and credits for the calendar year 2021.  Form 1040-ES includes an Estimated Tax Worksheet to help you calculate your federal estimated tax payments.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the filing dates for federal quarterly estimated tax payments?

Payment Period Due Date
January 1 - March 31, 2021 April 15, 2021
April 1 - May 31, 2021 June 15, 2021
June 1 - August 31, 2021 September 15, 2021
September 1 - December 31, 2021 January 18, 2022*

*You do not have to make the payment due on January 18, 2022, if you file your 2021 tax return by January 31, 2022 and pay the entire balance due with your return.

2. How do I make federal quarterly estimated payments?

The IRS provides various methods for making 2021 quarterly estimated tax payments:

3. What if I do not pay enough federal income tax in a timely manner for the calendar year 2021?

Generally, if you do not pay enough tax in a timely manner either through withholding or making estimated tax payments, you may be required to pay a penalty.

Please refer to IRS Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, for a detailed discussion of the underpayment penalty, including exceptions to this penalty.

4. How do I obtain additional information regarding federal quarterly estimated tax payments?

Please refer to IRS Form 1040-ES Instructions and IRS Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, for additional information regarding federal quarterly estimated tax payments or consult your personal tax advisor.