1040-ES Form

A Form 1040-ES is a tax document used by freelancers or independent contractors to estimate the federal tax they will owe on their income. This document is prepared by the freelancer or independent contractor and not by the business working with them. Taxes that may be estimated with this form include income tax, self-employment tax, and other taxes. This document is generally prepared by the freelancer or independent contractor on a quarterly basis.

What is a 1040-ES?

A 1040-ES Form is used for tax filing purposes. The form will allow filers to calculate the estimated amount of tax liability they owe for the year. Freelancers and independent contractors may need to file Form 1040-ES, as they do not have taxes withheld automatically.

If you do not set up voluntary withholding, this form will be needed to ensure you pay the correct amount of taxes. This will include fees for federal taxes, state taxes, and social security. Estimated tax payments may not always be enough, so it is possible that you may owe more taxes after filing for the year. It is also possible for you to get a refund.

In order to estimate the amount of taxes you owe, you will need to know the gross amount of all your taxable income. If you are unsure about your yearly income, you can use last year's tax return as a basis if the work was similar.

Most Common Uses

A Form 1040-ES is used to estimate your taxes for the current fiscal year.  You use this form to pay income tax, self-employment tax, and any other tax you may be liable for.

This form is used to pay estimated tax on income where tax is not deducted at the source.  This form is commonly used by independent contractors and freelancers and to calculate taxes from interest, dividends and rent, taxable unemployment compensation, retirement benefits, and the taxable part of your Social Security benefits.

The estimated tax rules apply to U.S. citizens and resident aliens, residents of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa, and nonresident alien.

Components of a 1040-ES

The 1040-ES form contains the following sections:

  • Instructions
  • Self-Employment Tax and Deduction Worksheet
  • Tax Rate Schedules
  • Estimated Tax Worksheet
  • Record of Estimated Tax Payments
  • Payment Voucher

How to Complete a 1040-ES (Step by Step)

Read the instructions

Fill out Self-Employment Tax and Deduction Worksheet

  1. Expected income and profits
    1. Enter your expected income and profits subject to self-employment tax
    2. If you will have farm income and also receive social security retirement or disability benefits, enter your expected Conservation Reserve Program payments that will be included on Schedule F (Form 1040) or listed on Schedule K-1 (Form 1065)
  2. Subtract line 1b from line 1a
  3. Multiply line 2 by 92.35% (0.9235)
  4. Multiply line 3 by 2.9% (0.029)
  5. Social security tax maximum income $160,200
  6. Enter your expected wages (if subject to social security tax or the 6.2% portion of tier 1 railroad retirement tax)
  7. Subtract line 6 from line 5 (Note. If line 7 is zero or less, enter -0- on line 9 and skip to line 10.)
  8. Enter the smaller of line 3 or line 7
  9. Multiply line 8 by 12.4% (0.124)
  10. Add lines 4 and 9. Enter the result here and on line 9 of your Estimated Tax Worksheet
  11. Multiply line 10 by 50% (0.50). This is your expected deduction for self-employment tax on Form 1040, line 14. Subtract this amount when figuring your expected AGI on line 1 of your Estimated Tax Worksheet

Payment Voucher

If you are making a payment of estimated tax by check or money order, complete and mail the tax voucher with your check or money order payable to “United States Treasury.” Write your social security number and “[Current Year] Form 1040-ES” on your check or money order. Do not send cash. Enclose, but do not staple or attach, your payment with this voucher.  

You can pay by credit card if you go directly to IRS.gov/Payments

To use EFTPS, you must be enrolled online or have an enrollment form mailed to you.  For more information about EFTPS, go to IRS.gov/Payments or www.EFTPS.gov

External Resources

  • https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040es.pdf
  • https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-1040-es
  • https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040esn.pdf

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Sample 1040-ES Form


Sample 1040-ES Form

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