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IRS.gov Website
Publication 505
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194804

Chapter 4
Underpayment Penalty
for 2012(p54)

What's New for 2012(p54)


You should consider the items in this section when figuring any underpayment penalty for 2012.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194806
Decrease in employee's share of payroll Tax.(p54)
Social security tax is withheld from an employee's wages at the rate of 4.2% (down from 6.2%) up to the social security wage limit of $110,100. There is no change to Medicare withholding.
The same reduction applies to the net earnings from self-employment—the temporary rate will be 10.4% (down from 12.4%) up to the social security wage limit of $110,100.

taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194807Introduction

If you did not pay enough tax, either through withholding or by making timely estimated tax payments, you will have underpaid your estimated tax and may have to pay a penalty.
Deposit
You may understand this chapter better if you can refer to copies of your latest federal income tax returns.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194809

No penalty.(p54)

rule
Generally, you will not have to pay a penalty for 2012 if any of the following apply.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194812

IRS can figure the penalty for you.(p54)

rule
If you think you owe the penalty, but you do not want to figure it yourself when you file your tax return, you may not have to. Generally, the IRS will figure the penalty for you and send you a bill.
You only need to figure your penalty in the following three situations. However, if these situations do not apply to you, and you think you can lower or eliminate your penalty, complete Form 2210 or Form 2210-F and attach it to your return. See Form 2210, later.

taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#TXMP0df3bedc

Useful items

You may want to see:


Form (and Instructions)
  2210: Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals, Estates, and Trusts
  2210-F: Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Farmers and Fishermen
See chapter 5 for information about getting these forms.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194815

General Rule(p54)

rule
In general, you may owe a penalty for 2012 if the total of your withholding and timely estimated tax payments did not equal at least the smaller of:
  1. 90% of your 2012 tax, or
  2. 100% of your 2011 tax. (Your 2011 tax return must cover a 12-month period.)
Your 2012 tax, for this purpose, is defined under Total tax for 2012, later.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194817

Special rules for certain individuals.(p54)

rule
There are special rules for farmers and fishermen and certain higher income taxpayers.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194818
Farmers and fishermen.(p54)
If at least two-thirds of your gross income for 2011 or 2012 is from farming or fishing, substitute 662/3% for 90% in (1) above.
See Farmers and Fishermen, later.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194820
Higher income taxpayers.(p54)
If your AGI for 2011 was more than $150,000 ($75,000 if your 2012 filing status is married filing a separate return), substitute 110% for 100% in (2) under General Rule. This rule does not apply to farmers or fishermen.
For 2011, AGI is the amount shown on Form 1040, line 37; Form 1040A, line 21; and Form 1040EZ, line 4.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194822

Penalty figured separately for each period.(p54)

rule
Because the penalty is figured separately for each payment period, you may owe a penalty for an earlier payment period even if you later paid enough to make up the underpayment. This is true even if you are due a refund when you file your income tax return.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194823

Example.(p54)

You did not make estimated tax payments for 2012 because you thought you had enough tax withheld from your wages. Early in January 2013, you made an estimate of your total 2012 tax. Then you realized that your withholding was $2,000 less than the amount needed to avoid a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax.
On January 10, you made an estimated tax payment of $3,000, which is the difference between your withholding and your estimate of your total tax. Your final return shows your total tax to be $50 less than your estimate, so you are due a refund.
You do not owe a penalty for your payment due January 15, 2013. However, you may owe a penalty through January 10, 2013, the day you made the $3,000 payment, for your underpayments for the earlier payment periods.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194824

Minimum required each period.(p54)

rule
You will owe a penalty for any 2012 payment period for which your estimated tax payment plus your withholding for the period and overpayments for previous periods was less than the smaller of:
  1. 22.5% of your 2012 tax, or
  2. 25% of your 2011 tax. (Your 2011 tax return must cover a 12-month period.)
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194825
Minimum required for higher income taxpayers.(p54)
If you are subject to the rule for higher income taxpayers, discussed above, substitute 27.5% for 25% in (2) under General Rule.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194827

When penalty is charged.(p54)

rule
If you miss a payment or you paid less than the minimum required in a period, you may be charged an underpayment penalty from the date the amount was due to the date the payment is made. If a payment is mailed, the date of the U.S. postmark is considered the date of payment.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194828
Estate or trust payments of estimated tax.(p54)
If you have estimated taxes credited to you from an estate or trust (Schedule K-1 (Form 1041), treat the payment as made by you on January 15, 2013.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194829

Amended returns.(p54)

rule
If you file an amended return by the due date of your original return, use the tax shown on your amended return to figure your required estimated tax payments. If you file an amended return after the due date of the original return, use the tax shown on the original return.
However, if you and your spouse file a joint return after the due date to replace separate returns you originally filed by the due date, use the tax shown on the joint return to figure your required estimated tax payments. This rule applies only if both original separate returns were filed on time.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194830

2011 separate returns and 2012 joint return.(p54)

rule
If you file a joint return with your spouse for 2012, but you filed separate returns for 2011, your 2011 tax is the total of the tax shown on your separate returns. You filed a separate return if you filed as single, head of household, or married filing separately.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194831

2011 joint return and 2012 separate returns.(p55)

rule
If you file a separate return for 2012, but you filed a joint return with your spouse for 2011, your 2011 tax is your share of the tax on the joint return. You are filing a separate return if you file as single, head of household, or married filing separately.
To figure your share of the taxes on a joint return, first figure the tax both you and your spouse would have paid had you filed separate returns for 2011 using the same filing status as for 2012. Then multiply the tax on the joint return by the following fraction.
 The tax you would have paid had you filed a separate return 
The total tax you and your spouse would have paid had you filed separate returns
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194832

Example.(p55)

Lisa and Paul filed a joint return for 2011 showing taxable income of $49,000 and a tax of $6,504. Of the $49,000 taxable income, $41,000 was Lisa's and the rest was Paul's. For 2012, they file married filing separately. Lisa figures her share of the tax on the 2011 joint return as follows.
2011 tax on $41,000 based on a separate return$ 6,381
2011 tax on $8,000 based on a
separate return
803
Total$ 7,184
Lisa's percentage of total tax
 ($6,381 ÷ $ 7,184)
88.82%
Lisa's part of tax on joint return
 ($6,504 × 88.82%)
$ 5,777
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194833

Form 2210.(p55)

rule
In most cases, you do not need to file Form 2210. The IRS will figure the penalty for you and send you a bill. If you want us to figure the penalty for you, leave the penalty line on your return blank. Do not file Form 2210.
To determine if you should file Form 2210, see Part II of Form 2210. If you decide to figure your penalty, complete Part I, Part II, and either Part III or Part IV of the form and the Penalty Worksheet in the Instructions for Form 2210. If you use Form 2210, you cannot file Form 1040EZ.
On Form 1040, enter the amount of your penalty on line 77. If you owe tax on line 76, add the penalty to your tax due and show your total payment on line 76. If you are due a refund, subtract the penalty from the overpayment and enter the result on line 73.
On Form 1040A, enter the amount of your penalty on line 46. If you owe tax on line 45, add the penalty to your tax due and show your total payment on line 45. If you are due a refund, subtract the penalty from the overpayment and enter the result on line 42.
taxmap/pubs/p505-019.htm#en_us_publink1000194834
Lowering or eliminating the penalty.(p55)
You may be able to lower or eliminate your penalty if you file Form 2210. You must file Form 2210 with your return if any of the following applies.