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Maybe this will help someone else too.

September 11, 2015 Leave a comment

So, as a “self employed” “minister of the Gospel” according to the IRS, I get to make quarterly estimate tax payments.  Yes, that’s right, I don’t have tax and social security withholding like everyone else.  Among the many crosses to bear for ministers is to see every penny of the earthy reward for work in the Lord’s vineyard and then painfully watch just how much of it goes to Uncle Sam as we write the checks ourselves.

You can do it the old fashioned way with the 1040-ES form which we all know well.  Or you can “enroll” in the govt’s Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or EFTPS, where you get to learn the quirks of a gov’t tax paying system designed to help folks like me render unto Caesar.

After all the rigmarole to get enrolled, special papers sent, etc, you can pay your estimated taxes on your day off without the checkbook your wife took with her to work, after you crack the govt’s code.

On the “Make a Payment” page you see that there is “Tax Form Selection” interface.  Do not be confused, dear self-employed taxpayer, it doesn’t work like everything else on the Interwebs works.

EFTPS

Don’t mess with the drop down menus, which at the time of this post contained nothing close to a 1040-ES.  Don’t put 1040-ES or any variant, like 1040ES or 1040es into the “Enter Tax Form Number” box.

Just do this.  Enter “1040” in the “Enter Tax Form Number” box and click “Next” below and that will bring up a dialog that has 1040-ES as the very first option.  Then the payment system works like the rest of the Internet.

Ah Caesar.  We can only assume what happened.  This website was designed not by people who do this for a living, who consider the end user in mind, but by rather by a contractor that was told to stop thinking and just do what the contract specified.  After all, we’re the govt, don’t you think we know how to do this?

Faithfully rendered.  Now let us sing, “My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty…”

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