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Prepaying your state estimated tax in December just makes bookkeeping easier if you're itemizing on your federal return. It is not a requirement. If you pay "on schedule" in January, you only have to remember to include your previous year's Q4 state estimate and only the first 3 quarters of the current tax year. It usually isn't that much of a dollar difference. In any event, the payment isn't due in December.

Oh, I understand that there's no requirement that you pay in December, and appreciate that one January payment is likely to be about the same size as the next one, so Q1+Q2+Q3+previousQ4 is almost the same as Q1+Q2+Q3+currentQ4. I was just trying to find a semi-plausible reason for the poster's statement about December/January and having an itemized/standard deduction. It does make a difference, of course, the first time you ever encounter estimated state payments, as I did last year - in that case, there was no previous Q4 payment, and sending in the last state payment two weeks early saved me several hundred dollars. (Ok, if you want to be real picky, it allowed me to reduce my taxes immediately instead of waiting a year...)
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