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“I am a retiree with little withholding from a small pension (monthly) & non-qualified distribution (quarterly). I did
a total low 6 figure Roth IRA mostly in 2019 Q4 & therefore did little Q1, medium Q2-Q3, but big Q4 estimate tax. I received < 1K tax refund & I should have met IRS safe harbor rule by withholding > 90% of current year tax liability. It should be irreverent whether I met previous year 110% of actual tax.”
Your situation is not clear because your words are confusing. First you said you had a big Q4 est. tax. In the same paragraph you say you withheld >90% of current yr tax . There is a big difference between est. tax and withholding……….I am guessing you did not withhold but paid a large Q4 est. tax which is a good red flag to get IRS attention.
You should fill out Sch AI of F2210 to prove you are ok (or at least to reduce the penalty).
If you have pensions/SS you can arrange to have withholding. Or you can pay your estimated taxes in 4 equal amounts . Both require some planning.