David Rodeback's Blog

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Monday, September 13, 2004
Quarterly Is Every Three Months, Except at the IRS

Much of my income is from independent contracting, so I pay quarterly estimated tax payments to my profligate Uncle Sam. Payment from the fourth quarter is due January 15. Payment from the first quarter, January through March, is due April 15. Payment from the second quarter, April through June, is due July 15. You might think that payment for the third quarter, July through September, would be due October 15, but it's not. It's due September 15. What's wrong with this picture? Some possibilities:

  1. The IRS or Congress asked the IRS phone support staff what the appropriate schedule should be, then believed them; we've know for years that they're wrong more often than they're right.
  2. They studied the "new math," which amounts to the same thing as (1).
  3. They want the money early, so they, not I, can earn a month's interest.
  4. They're hoping I, having actually learned real math at some point, will never suspect that it's due in September instead of October, will miss the deadline, and will have to pay them a penalty like I did last year.

Here's to the essential perversity of our tax code.

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