Paper checks. Do you even remember those? For many, the paper check is absolutely a thing of the past, thanks to automation.
But for entrepreneurs (even the seriously tech-savvy ones) there is one pesky check that remains a regular part of business: the quarterly tax estimate to the federal government.
We know federal taxes are a pain, so we went looking for a better way to remit your quarterly payments without having to find your checkbook, too. Best part? The solution we found is 100% free. (Hard to believe, but sometimes, automation dreams do come true).
Here’s how you can get started fully automating your estimated tax payments — and kicking the checkbook to the curb once and for all:
Ok, first off, we get it — that .gov web url probably has you thinking that this is NOT going to be as easy as we made it seem. But while we won’t try and claim that this is the end-all-be-all of perfect webpages, it is an excellent tool for sending your estimated tax payments without having to send a check. So here’s the good and the bad.
The Bad: There is some initial prep work to getting started on the site.
– First, you need to sign up for the site and receive a 4-digit PIN. This is not automatic, the government will deliver this pin via snail mail, and you MUST have it to use the site.
– Second, it will take time to receive your pin code, so you probably have to wait until the beginning of the next quarter to make your first online payment.
And that’s it for the bad news — time for the good news.
The Good: In addition to this service being free, you can also say goodbye to re-ordering checkbooks, hunting for stamps, and feeling a little queasy about dropping that much cash into a mailbox.
Here are other bonuses to paying online:
– You won’t forget to make a payment because you can schedule payments up to 365 days in advance.
– You’ll get an automatic confirmation when your payment is received.
– You won’t have to hunt for your payment voucher to submit with your estimate — it’s included with your account.
And there you have: Online estimated tax payments to the federal government are getting us one step closer to total world automation. Now if we could just get the states to catch on, we could REALLY take over the world.
To check out the full instructions from EFTPS.gov for how to create your account, keep scrolling. But in the meantime (or even after you get started), feel free to reach out if you have questions. Chris Chapman, our director of tax, would be happy to set up a free 30-minute call to help you figure out any of your tax problems. Just fill out the contact form on our tax services page, and we’ll be in touch soon.
STEP 1: Enroll online.
To get started, you will need the following:
– Taxpayer Identification Number (your Employer Identification Number if you’re enrolling as a business or your Social Security Number if you’re enrolling as an individual).
– Banking account number and routing number.
– Address and name as they appear on your IRS tax documents.
Then, simply follow these instructions:
– Select “Enrollment.”
– Select “Business,” or “Individual,” or “Federal Agency.”
– Enter the requested information.
In seven business days, you will receive your PIN in the mail.
STEP 2: Get your password.
– Go to EFTPS.gov and click on “Log In.”
– Click on “Need a Password.”
– Enter your EIN or SSN and your PIN.
– Verify your banking information or your EFTPS enrollment number (which appears on your PIN letter or was given to you when you activated your enrollment via phone) and select “Next.”
– Create your new account password.
STEP 3: Make your payment.
– Go to www.eftps.gov and select “Make a Payment.”
– Select “Log In” again and use your EIN, PIN, and the password you just set.
– Enter the payment information in the step-by-step screens.
– When you’re finished, save a copy of the Payment Confirmation page. This contains your EFT Acknowledgment Number that acts as a receipt for your payment instruction.