Why Tax Day Is NOT April 15th This Year

Few things are as synonymous as April 15th and the IRS. That’s not to say that the deadline for submitting personal tax returns has not been moved before, though. Typically when April 15th lands on a weekend, the tax due date is pushed back to the next Monday.

In 2016, though, that date has been pushed back to April 18th. A full three days later. While it’s easy to not question any reason that the tax due date would be pushed back, the actual reason why is flabbergasting.

Sure, April 15th this year lands on a Friday, but like most of the United States workforce, I would expect the IRS to still operate on a Friday. I’ll certainly be in the office this Friday. It turns out, though, that the IRS is pushing back tax day because they’re observing Emancipation Day.

Emancipation Day is the day that Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act. Now while that’s certainly an important holiday, the date of this holiday is actually April 16th which is a Saturday this year. Emancipation Day is usually only observed in Washington, DC, and public employees are given the day off work. Since this year that day falls on a Saturday, though, public employees (like the IRS) are celebrating it on the closest weekday which is Friday, April 15th.

While I’m in full support of celebrating national holidays like this, I have to think it’s absurd that the IRS has decided that they could use this excuse to skip work on their most important day of the year. A small business owner could not close up shop even for Christmas if they had their largest day of business fall on that date! So why is it that this government institution is able to so easily write off their busiest day of the year?

For taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts, they actually have another little-known holiday which pushes back their tax deadline even further! They’ll be celebrating Patriots’ Day which is observed on the third Monday of April which will push their tax deadline back to Tuesday, April 19th. If you live in these states, though, be careful. If you are a resident there, but you’re submitting payment to states where April 18 is not a legal holiday, you’ll still need to pay the first installment of any estimated income tax payments by April 18th.

Ultimately, I’m not upset that Emancipation Day is being celebrated or that we have an extra day or two for our taxes. Those are both great things. But, only a government agency can get away with closing up shop on their most important business day of the year. 

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