Tax Penalties are 40 Percent Higher Than in 2011

The Wall Street Journal reports today that the number of people who are underpaying their estimated quarterly taxes and incurring IRS penalties is skyrocketing:

Apparently it’s something of a mystery why this is happening. The number of filers has gone up only slightly. The total penalty amount has stayed about the same. The laws haven’t changed. So what’s going on?

Beats me. But I do recall looking at this once for a friend who was worried about penalties, and concluding that it hardly made any difference. The penalty amount was pretty small, and not a lot different from the interest you’d earn from underpaying and then paying the penalty. Unless you’re really rich, in which case you have accountants doing this anyway, it didn’t really matter that much.

So…maybe people have just gotten lazy because they’ve realized that tax penalties aren’t that big a deal?