I was unemployed from January-June and started becoming self-employed from June-December. Do I need to pay quarterly taxes?

I will owe more than $1,000 in taxes for being self-employed half this year and have been a US citizen my entire life. Thanks for the help!

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    If you owe in a quarter, you should pay in that quarter.
    – RonJohn
    Sep 14, 2019 at 14:40
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    Isn’t the quarterly filing based on run-rating the income, I.e. the assumption that the same income would occur the second half of the year? Can you expand your comment into a full answer? Sep 14, 2019 at 14:48
  • @JoeTaxpayer This is exactly where I'm confused. This is my first year of self-employed and I'm so lost if I need to pay quarterly taxes. Sep 14, 2019 at 15:37
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    Yes. First, welcome to Money.SE. I was talking to Ron, in my comment. He implies you should "follow the rules", in effect, over pay a bit, and get a refund at tax time. I disagree, but am holding back on offering what I think should be the approach, now that it's September. Sep 14, 2019 at 15:40
  • @JoeTaxpayer Thanks for the kind welcome! I'm trying to figure out if I do need to pay my quarterly taxes with the looming September due date for Q3. I'd love to hear what you think and if it's better to pay my quarterly taxes for Q3 and Q4 or just wait till April. Sep 14, 2019 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


On this page, the IRS says:

Question How do I know if I have to file quarterly individual estimated tax payments?

Answer You must make estimated tax payments for the current tax year if both of the following apply:

  1. You expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax for the current tax year after subtracting your withholding and refundable credits.
  2. You expect your withholding and refundable credits to be less than the smaller of:
    • 90% of the tax to be shown on your current year’s tax return, or
    • 100% of the tax shown on your prior year’s tax return. (Your prior year tax return must cover all 12 months.)
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    Delmon - you noted that with no further payments, you'll still owe over $1K. This answer is perfect, straight from the IRS docs. If a Q3 payment will put you owing less than $1000 or none at all, only pay that amount. There's nothing sacred about whatever the original quarterly payments were calculated at. Sep 14, 2019 at 20:48

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