Just a quick tip for the freelancing and self-employed — that pain you feel paying all your taxes at once because you’re too lazy or forgetful to dole out your quarterly tax payments to Uncle Sam? It’s over. If you’re like me, and 99% of your banking and bill-paying is done online, there’s a tax payment solution for you.
Head on over to the awkwardly-named Electronic Federal Tax Payment System where you can sign up to link a bank account of your choice to use for electronic withdrawls to pay your taxes, and in particular your quarterly estimated tax payments. You’ll need to fill out an online application, and then they send via snail mail a confirmation letter with some top-secret codes and passwords, which you then need to call a super-secret telephone number to confirm and get your password. If you haven’t already done so, you then link a bank account with your routing numbers and account numbers and such. From there you can make a payment, and even schdule the upcoming payments before they are due, specifying the date the funds are transferred.
I have an ING Direcxt account where I keep my on-hand savings. ING Direct offers a pretty decent interest rate for money that you basically have access to when you need it. You also get access to routing numbers and all that jazz so you can use it as a direct deposit/withdrawl account. I keep my main checking account pretty much empty, transferring as much as possible to the ING Savings account to earn some interest and save for taxes, major purchases in the future and the like.
Up until this point in time I was just paying the IRS penalty every year for not filing my quarterly payments, and this year decided to put an end to that nonsense. I do just about every other financial transaction possible online, and made a point this year to find a way to handle these tax payments as well. It actually was pretty easy to find once I actually looked.
Do yourself a favor an automate the process – no more checks, no more stamps, no more paying all your taxes at the end of the year and freaking out that you might not have put enough away.