Title pretty much covers it. I've been doing work for Appen for about two years now, and like apparently most online jobs, they have me working as an "independent contractor". So I already know that they're making me carry the burden of figuring out taxes outside of the 1099-MISC that I should be getting soon.
Last year I had filed normally, sometime between February and April, and as far as I know, there were no issues. I paid what I was told I owed, and the IRS never contacted me to say that anything was wrong or that I owed anything more. So I've been continuing working as normal (or as normal as I can be; projects are very inconsistent) , and was preparing to file my taxes the same way this year.
But now I'm reading that, as an independent contractor, I'm supposed to file taxes quarterly, and that choosing to pay them as I have been can result in a potentially-hefty penalty? What's going on here? Is there any fixing this? It seems pretty unfair of companies to not inform people that methods of paying taxes would be different from the norm, especially when they send a tax form that implies otherwise.