Here's some fun trivia for your Friday afternoon: The deadline for filing taxes this year coincides with a little known holiday known as Emancipation Day. This fact also happens to be the answer to the question on everyone's mind right now: Why is tax day on April 18 this year? In the United States, most of us are in the habit of marking an earlier day our individual income tax returns are due — a day colloquially (and aptly) called "Tax Day."
Since 1955, April 15 has historically been the drop-dead deadline for tax filers living in the States. Although — here's another nugget o' trivia for you — the OG filing deadline for individuals was March 1. Also known as early AF to those of us who like to procrastinate. So what gives with this year? Not to look a gift horse in the mouth or anything, but how come we're getting three extra days to accomplish our mad dash to get everything filed? Well, it looks like we all owe ol' Honest Abe Lincoln a posthumous pat on the back, because it all comes down to Emancipation Day and where the holiday falls during the calendar year. Just so we're all in the know, here's a brief history of how this how Tax Day thing has played out.
How Did Tax Day First Come About?
Although federal income taxes had been given a go prior to 1909, nothing stuck until June of that particular year when the 61st Congress passed the 16th Amendment. Well, that got the ball rolling at least — the actual authority to enact an income tax wasn't officially decreed until February 1913, when Congress ratified the 16th Amendment. The very first Tax Day was March 1 the following year.
How Did Tax Day Wind Up In April?
It some respects, this remains a mystery. Some posit the reason for the change was to spread IRS employees' workload, but there is speculation by economists that the motivation was giving the government a longer window to pay refunds. What we do know is that Congress made the swap from March to April — and April 15 to be precise — on April 15, 1955. Shout out to the procrastinators of the bunch who pushed for that extension.
What Is Emancipation Day, Then?
Emancipation Day marks the momentous date in 1862 when President Lincoln freed 3,100 slaves who lived in the nation's capital. He did so by signing into effect the Compensated Emancipation Act. (Not to be confused with the Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued on Jan. 1, 1863.)
So What Does All This Have To Do With Tax Day 2016?
Typically, Emancipation Day is observed on April 16. However, April 16 falls on a Saturday this year. Because it is a holiday in Washington, D.C., it is also observed by the IRS, and they all want to celebrate too, you guys. As such, the holiday will be observed on Friday, April 15. At the fear of sounding redundant, Tax Day typically falls on April 15. Since April 15 will for all intents and purposes be a holiday this year, that means the tax-filing deadline must be moved to "the next succeeding business day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday," an IRS spokesman told The Washington Post. Voila! Tax Day 2016 gets scooted to Monday, April 18. If you live in Maine or Massachusetts, you'll actually get another extra day, as those states celebrate Patriots' Day on April 18.
Will Tax Day Go Back To April 15 Next Year?
Nope! In 2017, Tax Day falls on April 18 in 2017 and April 17 in 2018. Mark your calendars now, kiddos!
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