Paying the Taxman – Estimated Tax Payments For the Self Employed

If you’re self-employed or earn income that is not subject to tax withholding such as rents, prizes, awards, interest, or alimony, or if you don’t have enough tax withheld from your salary or pension, you will need to make estimated tax payments throughout the year or face a hefty penalty at tax time.Self-employed individuals will also need to pay an extra self-employment tax on top of their regular income taxes. Estimating your tax payments isn’t too complicated. The IRS has worksheets you can use to calculate your quarterly payments. In general, if you anticipate owing over $1000 after subtracting your credits and current withholding, you should pay estimated tax payments. This number is adjusted by the IRS periodically.Estimated tax payment requirements vary for individuals, sole proprietors, corporations, and farmers and fishermen. Check with the IRS for guidance.For the self-employed, use Form 1040-ES from the IRS to make your calculations. Use your previous year’s tax return as a guide. This will come in handy when doing rough calculations as far as your deductions, expected income, and so forth. Take into account any expected changes both in your own situation as well as tax laws.The worksheet includes a tax rate schedule that you will need to refer to once you’ve come up with a figure of taxable income. In addition, you will need to pay self-employment tax on top of the regular income tax. Pay attention to the instructions for calculating this tax as there are different rates once you pass a certain self-employment income threshold.In addition, only 92.35% of your self-employment income is currently subject to the tax so you will first need to multiply you self-employment income times.9235 to get the amount that is subject to the extra self-employment tax. For example, if you expect to earn $30,000 as a self-employed individual, $27,705 will be subject to the additional self-employment tax. At the current rate of 15.3%, the self-employment tax would be $4239. It’s important to realize that this is in addition to regular income tax.As you work through the worksheet, you will have your final figure representing your estimated taxes for the year. If you will owe over $1000, you will then divide that number by four. You will then be responsible for making four quarterly estimated tax payments for that amount according to a schedule set up by the IRS. Depending on the calendar, the payment due dates vary from year to year. However in general, the first payment is due in mid-April, the second is due in mid-June, the third is due in mid-September, and the final payment in due in mid-January of the following year. Payment vouchers are included on the 1040-ES worksheet.As the year progresses, your estimated income may fluctuate. You can use the worksheet to recalculate your estimated taxes and amend your remaining estimated payments. Doing this will ensure that you won’t be left owing more than you anticipated should you earn more money than you thought. It also ensures that you aren’t overpaying the taxes either.Because you will need to pay these taxes one way or the other, it makes sense to be aware of the taxes with every check you cash. Figure out what percentage of every dollar you earn needs to be put aside for taxes and sock that money away immediately into an account specifically designated for your taxes.

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2012 Travel Tips for the Social Activist

Is the daily work grind or the continual schoolwork bringing you down? Is your wanderlust inner voice telling you you’re ready for a travel vacation? Yet this year you want a different travel objective, not the typical vacation, designed around personal pleasure and leisure. This year you also feel a desire to get involved with some worthy cause, to challenge the power elite status quo and make the world a better place to live. Well, if travel AND social activism are your interests, I have the 2012 travel tip solutions that will please both your traveling and social activist desires.1. My first recommended travel destination for 2012 is Chantilly, Virginia, USA host to this year’s annual Bilderberg meeting May 31st – June 3rd. Chantilly, Virginia, at the Westfield Marriot Hotel, was the host for the 2008 Bilderberg meeting.Chantilly, Virginia is within close proximity to Washington, D.C.; the nation’s capitol offers a unique historical, cultural experience as well as a great place to voice dissent! Fortunately too, for the budget traveler, Chantilly has a youth hostel on the outskirts of the Washington, D.C. area. Why not book your reservations now, and enjoy the beautiful Virginia countryside and Washington, D.C. cultural activities while also vocalizing your displeasure to a passing banker, politician, or corporate CEO? Your opinions and discussions may plant the inception seed activating a pang of conscience that will eventually lead to less harmful world policies. If you discover the overt sidewalk protests are less successful, may I suggest an alternative, stealth approach: position yourself as a well-dressed hotel patron in the lobby where the Bilderberg members are staying. Act as an unassuming gadfly, listening for telling conversations from Bilderberg meeting attendees.Granted, such intimate access may prove to be difficult; however, for the determined spirited social activist, the challenge enhances the adventure and the success sweetens the reward.Are you ready for summer outdoor fun, a freelance journalist’s dream, and a proud sense of moral accomplishment? That’s what I experienced when I planned my fall 2000 vacation in Europe to coincide with the scheduled IMF / World Bank meeting in Prague. A well-organized anti-globalization protest was waiting for the banking attendees, similar to the successful anti-WTO protest in Seattle, November ’99, which I attended. I wanted to continue being a part of this proud movement.I’m certain at the Washington, D.C. youth hostel, and around town, you will meet kindred spirits who are also knowledgeable of this Bilderberg meeting event (global citizen individuals and various NGO members). As I had experienced during the Seattle ’99 and Prague 2000 protests, you will form lasting friendships with these fellow travelers / activists.2. To start your summer season, I recommend planning a visit to Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico for the annual G-20 meeting, June 18-19. What fun you will have mixing summer outdoor fun with social activism. Cabo San Lucas offers scuba diving, fishing, nightlife, and so much more. Even though the rich elite will be staying at expensive resorts, there are ample inexpensive lodging options at Los Cabos, including youth hostels. You can even pitch your tent near the beach!3. To start your fall season, I recommend a trip to Switzerland for the WTO public forum meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, September 24 – 26. A good central location for fine nearby skiing, autumn color hiking, and a piping hot cappuccino next to a roaring fireplace as you listen in to some powerful banker’s insidious plan.4. Continuing your fall season travels, I recommend visiting Tokyo, Japan for the IMF / World Bank meeting, Oct. 12-14. Enjoy social activism by day and exotic bustling Tokyo nightlife by night.For budget accommodations, Los Cabos, Geneva, and Tokyo, all have several hostels in the city and nearby vicinities.Last, for those planning on traveling through California, I recommend an outdoor excursion north of San Francisco. Besides marvelous vineyards, inspiring redwoods and dramatic coastline, there’s also an elite power broker retreat called Bohemian Grove nestled in the redwoods near the town of Guerneville and the Russian River.
The retreat of course has security ( as I discovered many years ago) so an undercover role as a naive hiker is a good start. While peering through the redwoods, you may find an influential politician or CEO performing some decadent, hedonistic ritual in a yellow chiffon dress! Don’t forget to bring your camera!I hope you find these travel tips useful for your future 2012 travel plans. You may even come across yours truly, the author. Happy travels!