To file an estimated quarterly tax return, a taxpayer needs to know his expected income, deductions and credits for the year and submit Internal Revenue Service Form 1040-ES on the four deadline dates the IRS has established for the tax year, according to the IRS. In general, the IRS requires estimated quarterly tax payments from taxpayers who earn income that is not subject to tax withholding and who expect to owe more than $1,000 in federal income tax.
To estimate income, deductions and credits, begin with figures from the previous year's tax return and adjust for changes such as filing status, recommends the IRS. Calculate the amount of estimated tax owed for the year using the estimated tax worksheet, published annually in IRS Publication 505. A taxpayer may choose to use the regular installment method to pay the total estimated tax in four equal payments or, if he earns income irregularly throughout the year, use the annualized income installment method to make greater or lesser payments in one or more quarters.
Regardless of the payment method chosen, estimated tax payments are due on April 15, June 15 and Sept. 15 of the current year and on Jan. 15 of the following year, the IRS explains. A taxpayer may pay his estimated taxes by check using the vouchers included with IRS Form 1040-ES, online or by phone. He may also apply an overpayment from the prior tax year to his estimated tax for the current year.