I read on https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/estimated-taxes:

First and second quarter estimated tax payments normally due April 15 and June 15 are postponed to July 15, along with most other federal income tax deadlines.

When paying for the first and second quarters of estimated tax payments (Form 1040-ES) due on July 15, 2020, should I make 1 or 2 payments on https://www.irs.gov/payments? (1 payment for both quarters at once vs. 1 payment for each quarter)

1 Answer 1


TLDR: As you probably know what your earnings/taxes are for the two tax quarters, I would apply two quarters worth of taxes to the earliest period. Nothing wrong with one for each quarter. As long as the IRS gets the payments they are due, that is what matters.

My rational is that any excess estimated payment become equivalent to rolling over any excess payment from the prior year and is added to your tax id's credit with the IRS, and used up by the taxes on income each quarter going forward.

The goal is to end the year without penalty (from your link):

Generally, most taxpayers will avoid this penalty if they owe less than $1,000 in tax after subtracting their withholdings and credits, or if they paid at least 90% of the tax for the current year, or 100% of the tax shown on the return for the prior year, whichever is smaller.

When income is variable in order to reduce penalty at the end of tax year, for individuals Form 2210 is used to declare when such income is received, so applying tax payments earlier for later uneven income allows for a reduction/removal of penalty, at the cost of paying earlier.

From when I did this filling out as an individual taxpayer, I think I underpaid one year due to some reason, and as I didn't pay estimated evenly over the tax year, so I needed to fill out Form 2210 to reduce the penalty by declaring when the income arrived.

  • 1
    However, having unequal amounts in each quarter forces you to use the "Regular Method" on Form 2210 instead of the "Short Method" (although they might have special rules regarding 1st and 2nd quarters for the 2020 Form 2210). Although anyone who can use the Short Method can always use the Regular Method for an equal or better result, it does involve more numbers to fill out.
    – user102008
    Jul 11, 2020 at 18:20
  • 1
    And if you use the Regular Method, I don't think that the quarter designation matters, since the instructions say to enter "payments you made by <due date for that quarter>", i.e. it's the date of the payment that matters for where it goes. If you make a 2nd quarter payment before the 1st quarter payment, it still counts under line 19 column (a). So for the 2020 Form 2210, I suspect line 19 column (a) will be "payments you made by July 15, 2020", and column (b) will be grayed out.
    – user102008
    Jul 11, 2020 at 18:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .