IRC section 6654 requires that the lesser of 90% of the tax shown on the return for the tax year, or 100% of the tax shown on the prior year tax return (110% if prior year AGI is above $150,000) must be paid through withholding and/or estimated tax payments throughout the year. A taxpayer is subject to the underpayment of estimated tax penalty for failing to meet these requirements. The penalty does not apply if the taxpayer owes less than $1,000 in tax when filing the tax return.
After the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the IRS issued a new version of Form W-4 and updated the withholding calculator on www.irs.gov and encouraged taxpayers to check their withholding and revise their estimated tax payments to reflect changes under the new law. The IRS recognizes that taxpayers may have been unable to accurately calculate the amount of their required estimated income tax payments for the 2018 tax year. Accordingly, the IRS is providing additional relief by waiving the penalty if the taxpayer meets the conditions set forth in IRS Notice 2019-11.
Notice 2019-11 relief: The penalty under IRC section 6654 does not apply for the estimated income tax payments for the 2018 tax year otherwise required to be made on or before January 15, 2019 if total withholding and estimated tax payments made on or before January 15, 2019 equal or exceed 85% of the tax shown on the 2018 tax return.
To request this penalty waiver, file Form 2210, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals, Estates, and Trusts, with the 2018 tax return, complete Part 1 of Form 2210 and the worksheet included in the form instructions, check the waiver box (Part II, Box A), and include the statement “85% Waiver” with the return.
If the taxpayer does not meet the 85% waiver and is subject to the underpayment of estimated tax penalty, the penalty is calculated as normal. The 85% waiver has no effect on determining the amount of each required installment for an individual whose total withholding and estimated tax payments do not equal or exceed 85% of the tax shown on the 2018 return.