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It's too late to completely avoid a penalty, which is calculated as interest from the due date to the date actually paid. Thus you would owe the penalty on the first three payments regardless of what you do now. The rate is currently 3% per annum. I believe it's been constant throughout the year.

so if i pay NO ES and end up with taxes of $1000, the penalty is $30?

and if i send in the $1000 now as ES, the penalty is still pretty much $30?

[FWIW: TurboTax says if i owe (approx) $3500tax, penalty is $67
but if i pay $3000 ES by 1/15, penalty is $45
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