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oops, missed estimated tax deadline
, 21 April, 2021

Oops, I Missed my Estimated Tax Payment!

Date Extension

The IRS extended the filing deadline to May 17, 2021, but did not extend the April 15 deadline for 2021 first quarter estimated tax payments, which has caused some confusion.

Your accountant told you to make an estimated tax payment toward this year’s taxes, but you missed making the payment on April 15th.  Oh no, the taxman is coming for you! What do you do? Fortunately, the IRS is not going to seize all your property and hall you off to jail just yet. In fact, the IRS does not even know if you owe an estimated tax payment or not, and they will not act or send notices until your tax return and full payment is due next April. If you file and full-pay on time but failed to make a required estimated tax payment on time, a relatively small penalty will get added to your total annual tax.


Currently, the penalty is equivalent to a three percent annual interest rate. In some cases, you may actually be better off paying the penalty and keeping your money longer. If you fail to file and/or fully pay your taxes by the extended May 17th deadline (Or July or May, or whenever the powers that be decide to change the deadline too), penalties are much more severe, and the IRS will start taking action relatively promptly.

Your Options

If you want to avoid the penalty for underpayment of estimated tax (The “prepayment penalty”), there are some options available.

  1. The first thing to consider adjusting is your federal tax withholding. It is easy to withhold too little without meaning too. In recent years tables of what you should withhold are available such as in the 15-T IRS document, and if necessary, you can withhold extra funds.
  2. Secondly, make the estimated tax payment as soon as possible. The penalty is calculated based on how late the payment is submitted. If you are a week or two late, the penalty is likely a low percentage. The moment you realize you missed the date gets it paid. You can send a check but, it is faster to pay through the IRS’s secure portal HERE.
  3. If you receive a large portion of your income later in the year, there is an optional annualized income installment method to calculate your required estimated tax payments and penalties. There are a lot of pieces to consider. Perhaps we’ll write an article specifically on this in the future but, you can learn more about it HERE.
  4. Lastly, if all else fails and you have not filed yet, you can file an extension for 2020. Overpay enough to cover the first quarter estimated tax payment and avoid the penalty.

In summary, if you missed an estimated tax payment, breathe. There are options to help you overcome the obstacle and get back on track with your taxes. One of the most valuable and underutilized benefits to hiring a skilled accountant is situations just like this one. Your consultant can help you choose the option best for you.

Choose Drilldown Solution for Your Small Business Tax Preparation Needs!

At Drilldown Solution, we are your one-stop-shop for all financial management and business consulting for your small business. When you partner with Drilldown Solution, you gain access to exceptional accountants and CPAs who can give you expert guidance and advice on all tax preparation issues.

Drilldown Solution offers a full suite of financial services that include bookkeeping, accounting, tax preparation, and dental consulting. We have the expert team to help any small business thrive, even under the current COVID-19 pandemic circumstances. We accomplish this with a three-part system comprised of patient-experience excellence, financial focused operations, and accountability.

Our goal at Drilldown Solution is to put your small business in the best financial position possible, utilizing proactive processes and personal care!

Note: The material and contents provided in this article are informative in nature only. It is not intended to be advice and you should not act specifically on the basis of this information alone. If expert assistance is required, professional advice should be obtained.

Ed Gabriel, CPA is President of DrillDown Solution and a graduate of Brigham Young University. His clients benefit from over 40 years of experience in maximizing profits, minimizing taxes and putting them in the best financial position possible.