EFTPS Duplicate Payment Warning when Paying IRS Estimated Tax

I talked about the lack of electronic payment options from USCIS. It turns out the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does have one. Considering that IRS is all about collecting money, it makes sense. So I decided to pay my 2009 estimated tax through The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). According to its website, EFTPS is “one of the most successful Federal government programs undertaken in recent years” and it is “easy to use, fast and accurate.”

I actually went through the online enrollment process last year. It took about two weeks, including receiving a PIN in snail mail. A bit longer than the few minutes most banks need to setup an account, but not bad compared to those year-long backlogs we are used to.

So I went through the payment process, selecting Form 1040ES, putting down the amount (in four equal installments) and scheduling four dates in April, June, September and January. All went smoothly until I clicked “make payment.” A warning popped up saying that I’m making four duplicate payments!

I knew I was making four payment in equal amount, but on different days!

It offered three options: Edit, Abandon and Override. Override means you can ignore the warning and continue with the payment, in case you are wondering.

Thinking that I might have made a mistake somewhere, I chose Abandon and started it over. Since I was determined to avoid late penalties I once again scheduled four payments for the whole year, and in equal installments as IRS prefers.

Nope! Same duplicate payment warnings.  I chose “override” this time. Although the confirmation page appeared to be correct in terms of actual payment dates (settlement date as IRS calls it), I was still a bit concerned that IRS might debited my account four times on the same day.

duplicate payment warning for EFTPS

I did a little googling afterwards and guess what, the same issue has existed since at least 2006! And IRS knew about it even then. I can’t be the only one having questions about the duplicate payment warnings, can I?

Then you have to wonder, how hard is it to add an “if” statement in the code that works like this: if there are four equal payments, but on four different days, it might be intentional? A good hint would be the use of form 1040ES, duh!

At the very least, how about adding a short comment that explains what the duplicate warning messages are, especially if you are scheduling estimated tax payment in advance. This way people won’t be as confused, and I won’t be writing up this post when I’m supposed to be doing my taxes.

If a multi-billion dollar government agency can’t fix this bug in three years, it means:

  1. They don’t care;
  2. They think users will eventually figure out what to do; or
  3. They can’t find qualified and willing programmers to do the job.

One thought on “EFTPS Duplicate Payment Warning when Paying IRS Estimated Tax

  1. DAVID E

    Situation: My Friend has presently accepted a new job that requires visiting abroad including a visit to United States. You are holding a green card since 2004 without any Social Security number.
    He started applying for immigrating to America with a young family in 1998 when economic and job situations were not good. Ever since you received the green card in 2004, you did not want to reside in the US and want to remain in Hong Kong because of family situation and job situation had changed.
    When He visited the United States in 2004 , he was disappointed in not securing a good job for your family. Since then you have decided to remain in Hong Kong and have a successful career.
    He cannot proceed without a Social Security number because he elected not to proceed to go through the process to an abandoned any sort of immigrating to the United States in 2004.
    Since then he has made a good living and had changed his preference to remain in Hong Kong, You wish to surrender your green card by ex-patriation.
    Because of your new job, recently you have discovered the US IRS laws requires you to report five years of income using IRS form 8845. The five years of income were made totally in Hong Kong .
    At the end he wish to visit the United States and legally apply for a Visa to enter it in the United States for business reasons. You wish to do the right thing but cannot proceed in only through the reporting US taxation process.
    Question
    The question is would he be able to surrender your green card without paying taxes because your present intention was to make a living in Hong Kong rather than in US soil and you have not used the green card to gain any monetary or makes a living as a residence in United States?
    If he was to report income, he was not aware about this rule until now and if so, he do not have his Social Security number to report your taxes on IRS form 8845

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