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Annualized Income Installment Method Definition: When to Use It

Photo: Annualized Income Installment Photo: Annualized Income Installment

Annualized Income Installment Method Definition: When to Use It

Self-employed taxpayers normally pay their estimated tax in four even quarterly installments determined under the standard installment method. Furthermore, taxpayers who receive sizable dividends, interest payments, alimony, or other types of income that are not subject to income tax withholding should pay estimated taxes.

When a taxpayer’s income varies, they frequently underpay on one or more of the quarterly estimates, which results in underpayment penalties. The annualized income installment technique works to reduce underpayment and associated underpayment penalties associated with variable income by calculating the taxpayer’s expected tax installment payments. Taxpayers can estimate their taxes using the annualized income installment method by using data from the start of the tax year to the conclusion of the period paid.


Self-employed taxpayers must make anticipated quarterly tax payments. Under the usual installment system, these projected tax payments are typically made in four equal installments.
The projected tax payment installments are recalculated using the annualized income installment technique to reflect when the taxpayer earned the money during the year. It is intended to reduce underpayments and the associated underpayment fines when a taxpayer’s income varies during the year.

The Operation of the Annualized Income Installment Method

The regular installment system is intended to account for quarterly tax installments. The expected yearly tax is divided into four equal parts. For taxpayers with a consistent income, the resultant payments are suitable for the quarterly anticipated taxes; however, this does not work as well for taxpayers whose income varies. In the slower months, some taxpayers could struggle to find the money to pay anticipated taxes.

Think about the taxpayers, Jane and John, for instance. They both owe a yearly estimated tax of $100,000. According to the standard installment plan, Jane makes her expected payments of $25,000 each in four installments. She distributed her income equally, earning 25% each quarter, resulting in quarterly payments that fully and promptly covered her projected tax.

Each tax quarter saw John’s profits at 0%, 20%, 30%, and 50%. When his earnings are modest, John can struggle with the money needed to make his first- and second-quarter anticipated tax payments. Using the standard installment approach, John would have to pay an underpayment penalty for the first two quarters if he paid less estimated tax in the first two quarters and more in the second two quarters.

John can recalculate his installments using the annualized income installment technique to correspond to his income as he earns it. It does this by dividing John’s payments into four overlapping yearly periods. Every period starts on January 1. March 31 is the end of the first period, May 31 is the end of the second, August 31 is the end of the third, and December 31 is the end of the fourth. With the last period covering the whole year, each encompasses all preceding periods. John may make an educated guess of his tax obligations based on his earnings up to that point in the year.

This illustration shows the precise share of John’s yearly income from each tax quarter. John pays nothing in March, May, $30, August, and December. John now owes four installments for a total of $4,000 that, when combined, equals his $100,000 yearly anticipated tax. John’s underpayment penalties have been eliminated, and his recalculated payments are now paid on time.

Forms, schedules, and spreadsheets are provided in IRS Publication 505 for taxpayers who wish to recalculate their installment payments utilizing the annualized income installment method. However, calculating payments this way is challenging and is best done by your preferred tax expert using an IRS worksheet.

How can I annualize my income using the method of annualized income installments?

In contrast to our hypothetical example above, when your quarterly anticipated tax payment is due, you won’t know your whole year’s tax payment. Instead, you will need to annualize your income from the start to the conclusion of the tax year to estimate your annual tax payment. Year-to-date (YTD) income through May 31 is annualized by multiplying by 2.4, August 31 by 1.5, and December 31 by one because the “quarters” don’t necessarily correspond to real calendar quarters.

What is the annualized income installment method’s tax form?

IRS Form 2210 can be used to compute utilizing the annualized approach.

When I filed my tax return, I owed $500. Should I submit Form 2210?

If the difference between the total tax on your return and the amount of tax you paid through withholding is less than $1,000, there is no underpayment penalty.

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