We forgot to mail in our estimated tax payments to the IRS for the 2017 tax year (joint return-wife and husband). Our computer tax program does print out vouchers that we inadvertently ignored, probably because we had not needed to do that for awhile. The total tax payment owed was around $2000, but each quarterly voucher was for about $1000. Two questions:
!. Why would we need to send in a total of $4000 (4 payments of $1000) when our total tax paid in 2017 was only around $2000??
2. Would it be best to mail in the vouchers now, or wait until we prepare our taxes for 2018 — assuming here that our tax program will ask us if we sent in estimated payments last year (to which, if asked, we would answer no, and then maybe the tax program will tell us how to make it right??) We’re using Turbotax.
Thanks for any assistance you can give us on this.
It sounds like you would qualify for the prior year safe harbor and therefore would not have had to pay more than the amount from the previous year, or about $500 per month, to avoid a penalty. I’m not sure why the software would have generated vouchers in a larger amount, but one possibility is that it was set to have you pay the amount it calculated as the actual estimated amount of tax you’ll owe rather than the minimum amount needed to avoid an estimated tax penalty.
In any event, you should not send in these vouchers. The IRS doesn’t want to see them. They are used for one purpose only: to make sure the check you sent with the voucher gets credited to the proper taxpayer account. Don’t sent them now, and don’t send them with your tax return. You can throw them out. When you prepare your tax return, TurboTax will determine whether you owe a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax. If so, it will generate Form 2210 and you’ll have to pay a little extra with your return. That’s all there is to it. There’s no stigma, and the penalty isn’t very large.