If you pay quarterly estimated income taxes, your second-quarter estimated tax payment (using form 1040-ES) for 2009 is due on June 15, 2009. Although most mystery shoppers who accept occasional mystery shopper jobs will not have to be concerned with paying quarterly estimated taxes, if a significant portion of your income is derived from secret shopping or other independent contractor activities, you may need to file quarterly tax returns.
Not sure if you have to pay? You can figure it out by consulting the IRS web site at http://www.irs.gov/publications/p505/ch02.html
Need to know more?
Here are some general rules about who has to pay estimated taxes:
If most of your income is from being an employee, and you have tax withheld from your paychecks at your primary job, you may not need to pay estimated taxes. (This could also apply if your spouse is the primary wage earner and s/he has taxes withheld from his or her check.)
You must pay estimated tax for 2009 if both of the following apply:
- You expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax for 2008, after subtracting your withholding and credits.
- You expect your withholding and credits to be less than the smaller of:
1. 90% of the tax to be shown on your 2009 tax return, or
2. 100% of the tax shown on your 2008 tax return. Your 2008 tax return must cover all 12 months.
Seem complicated? Well, the tax code certainly can be complicated. Here is one easy way to determine how much you should pay: If you expect your income to about what you earned last year or more, you can simply make sure that the taxes withheld from your paycheck, plus any amounts you pay in estimated taxes, equal your tax liability for 2008. If you earn more money this year you may end up owing more in taxes, but you will not owe any penalties if you pay the taxes by April 15, 2010.
You can download the 1040-ES form for paying your estimated income taxes, along with the instructions and more information about estimated taxes at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040es.pdf