Can my mom put estimated tax payments on auto-pilot?


Q. My elderly mom wants to manage her own estimated tax payments, but she never remembers to send it on time. She wants to handle it herself. Can we put this on an autopay or is there another way I can make sure this gets done?
— Trying to help

A. She can, and here’s how it could work.

First, the IRS has mandated the use of its Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) for all business taxpayers, said Neil Becourtney, a certified public accountant and tax partner with CohnReznick in Eatontown.

He said individuals have the option of using EFTPS to make their quarterly estimated tax payments; however, few taxpayers do so.

“Using EFTPS would benefit your mother because once she is enrolled, she could schedule payments up to 365 days in advance,” Becourtney said.

You can learn more from the IRS here.

Becourtney said if your mom owes taxes after filing her return, she can also pay the balance using the system.

The New Jersey Division of Taxation also requires businesses to remit various tax payments via its electronic funds transfer (EFT) system. Like the IRS, the New Jersey division makes this voluntary for individuals, Becourtney said.

“Your mother can arrange to make her quarterly New Jersey estimated tax payments online and enter `electronic check’ in the search bar,” he said. ”New Jersey does not use a dedicated website for the EFT.”

Becourtney said it’s important to remember that by making future estimated payments electronically, your mother will give up the float that exists when mailing a check to the IRS or the state.

“A timely filed payment is one mailed by the due date,” he said. “So, for the next quarterly estimated tax payments, due Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, many taxpayers will mail the payments that day – proof of timely mailing is the taxpayer’s responsibility – and those checks may not clear until the end of the week.”

But, he said, this seems a small price to pay to achieve your mother’s goals.

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This story was originally published on July 25, 2019. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.