Tips on How to Fill Out Form 1040-ES

If you are a freelancer, calculating your taxes and reporting them tends to be no less, if not more, pain than it is for employees. The same applies to independent contractors. This article explains how to use a 1040-ES fillable form for this purpose. Read below for general information and step-by-step filing instructions.

What Is Form 1040-ES?

Introduced and used by the US Internal Revenue Service, better known as the IRS, Form 1040-ES is titled “Estimated Tax for Individuals.” This means you should use it to calculate your estimated tax.

According to official Form 1040-ES instructions, this applies to tax not subject to withholding, such as arises on self-employment earnings, dividends, alimony, rents, etc. The form is also used by social groups that can but choose not to use voluntary withholding. Common income types in such groups include unemployment and social security benefits.

Please mind that the form is to be used by US citizens and resident aliens, as well as nonresident aliens, who are supposed to use a special version of the form marked (NR). Be sure to check the IRS website for specific income/tax thresholds applicable in the current year before you file your taxes. Remember that there are special rules applying to occupations like fishermen, farmers, household employers, and higher-income payers.

How to Fill Out Form 1040-ES?

If you feel like you should use the form in order to estimate the amount of tax outstanding on your income, start by finding a fillable 1040-ES form template. There is a number of sources offering such documents. A highly reliable solution is to go to the IRS website and download the form from there.

The official 1040-ES fillable package consists of 12 pages, two of which are intentionally left blank. Instructions make the first five pages. Below on page 6, there’s the so-called Self-Employment Tax and Deduction Worksheet. The procedure is as follows:

  1. Enter your expected income under 1a. If you have farm income and receive social security benefits, also fill out 1b. Subtract 1b from 1a.
  2. Follow the calculation instructions, entering your social security tax maximum income (line 5) and expected wages (line 6).
  3. By completing line 11, find your deduction for self-employment tax on Schedule 1 of the form.
  4. Use the Tax Rate Schedules on page 7 to figure out your taxes depending on your filing status for the respective year.
  5. The Estimated Tax Worksheet on page 8 and the Record of Estimated Tax Payments are for your own record. Follow the instructions provided with them and complete both sections to refer to them as needed.
  6. Finally, use page 11 to keep track of your payments, entering details such as the amount due, payment date, check/money order number, the amount paid, overpayment credit applied, and the total paid and credited.

How to File 1040-ES

As such, Form 1040-ES is not a typical tax reporting form that you use to keep the IRS/government informed. Its chief purpose is to help you with your estimation so that you can pay the taxes properly.

The IRS instructions specify that you should mail your estimated tax payment voucher along with the check or money order. Choose a mailing address from the list provided on page 5 based on where you live.

Before you file the form, you should also find out the due date for paying your tax. To do so, visit page 3. There are typically four payments per year, and there should be special regulations according to which you might be able to make the last one later subject to certain conditions. Be sure to consult the newest edition of the form for more details.

The instructions for this form provide for scenarios such as name change due to marriage. In this case, you need to attach a statement of your tax payments, jointly with your spouse if applicable, and the respective name(s) and SSN(s). Also, you can refer to the instructions if you need to make any amendments to your estimated tax.

1040-ES: An Easy Way to Figure Out Your Taxes

The IRS form 1040-ES is an important tool for estimating the amount of taxes expected on your income. Don’t miss it if you receive income besides regular employee salary.


Based on article from

Author’s Bio:
Dmytro Serhiiev
Tax Consultant & Co-Owner at PDFLiner

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