Federal tax deadline pushed back three days

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

Thanks to a District of Columbia holiday celebrating the abolition of slavery, the majority of U.S. residents will get a three-day reprieve on filing taxes.

Due to an overlap between Emancipation Day and what has become known as “Tax Day,” the Internal Revenue Service has announced some new due dates for the upcoming 2016 tax season.

The majority of last year’s individual income tax returns will be due on Monday, April 18 – rather than April 15, which falls on a Friday this year.

Emancipation Day is a public holiday in the District of Columbia that usually falls April 16. However, whenever April 16 is a Saturday – which it is in 2016 – Emancipation Day moves to the previous day. That means Emancipation Day will be observed April 15.

Sheila Boettger, a certified public accountant with CooperBoettger PLLC in St. Joseph, said this has only happened once or twice because the U.S. began celebrating the holiday in 2005.

Boettger said she recommends residents to file by April 15 anyways. However, if residents still need more time they can always file an extension.

“We would help people file extensions up to that point unless it is a simple return,” she said. “Plenty people are comfortable to file extensions. You still have to estimate what you might owe.”

Boettger said if residents are doing their taxes electronically, they have until midnight on April 18 to file.

Since Emancipation Day is a legal holiday, it gets precedence over the April 15 tax deadline – moving it to the following Monday.

Another strange occurrence with this deadline is that it will apply to 48 states.

In Maine and Massachusetts, Patriots’ Day is a statewide legal holiday that’s observed on the third Monday of April. In 2016, Patriots’ Day will coincide with the new federal tax deadline.

Maine and Massachusetts taxpayers will get an extra day to file their individual income tax returns because IRS offices will be closed April 18.

According to an IRS alert on the extended deadline, Emancipation Day celebrates when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act in 1862. By doing so, he freed slaves in the District of Columbia. That’s why the holiday is predominantly celebrated in the nation’s capital.

Nine months later, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed more than 3 million slaves across a large number of states.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on March 11, 2016)

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