April 4, 2012
TIPS FOR US EXPATRIATES ON PAYING QUARTERLY ESTIMATED TAXES
You may need to pay estimated taxes to the IRS during the year if you have income that is not subject to withholding and will not be completely offset by foreign tax credits or the foreign earned income exclusion. Your first quarterly estimated is due on 4/17/12 for 2012.
These six tips explain estimated taxes and how to pay them.
1. If you have income from sources such as self-employment, interest, dividends, alimony, rent, gains from the sales of assets, prizes or awards, then you may have to pay estimated tax.
2. As a general rule, you must pay estimated taxes in 2012 if both of these statements apply: 1) You expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax after subtracting your tax withholding (if you have any) and tax credits, and 2) You expect your withholding and credits to be less than the smaller of 90 percent of your 2012 taxes or 100 percent of the tax on your 2011 return. Special rules apply for farmers, fishermen, certain household employers and certain higher income taxpayers.
3. For Sole Proprietors, Partners and S Corporation shareholders, you generally have to make estimated tax payments if you expect to owe $1,000 or more in tax when you file your return.
4. To figure your estimated tax, include your expected gross income, taxable income, taxes, deductions and credits for the year. Use the worksheet in Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, for this. You want to be as accurate as possible to avoid penalties. Also, consider changes in your situation and recent tax law changes.
5. The year is divided into four payment periods, or due dates, for estimated tax purposes. Those dates generally are April 15, June 15, Sept. 15 and Jan. 15 of the next or following year.
6. Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, has everything you need to pay estimated taxes. It includes instructions, worksheets, schedules and payment vouchers. However, the easiest way to pay estimated taxes is electronically through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or EFTPS, at www.irs.gov. You can also pay estimated taxes by check or money order using the Estimated Tax Payment Voucher or by credit or debit card.
For more information on estimated taxes, refer to Form 1040-ES and its instructions and Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. We can help you compute your 2012 estimated taxes and send you the necessary forms to make the payments.
NOTE: Remember that expats living abroad on 4/17/12 get an automatic extension of time to file their US tax returns until 6/15/12, but if they will owe taxes they must pay in the tax by 4/17/12 in order to avoid penalties and interest.