Money & Company

Tracking the market and economic trends
that shape your finances.

« Previous Post | Money & Company Home | Next Post »

The reason tax day is not April 15 this year

April 12, 2011 |  8:33 am

Irs This Friday is April 15, the date synonymous with taxes, nervous twitches, occasional protests, sporadic cursing and late-night trips to the post office. But if you're running behind on your paperwork, or just hoping to hold on to your money a bit longer, you've got a few extra days this year.

Thanks to a little-known Washington, D.C., holiday and some odd Internal Revenue Service rules, taxpayers have until Monday, April 18, to file their federal returns.

It's a bit convoluted -- what would you expect from Washington -- but here's why.

April 16 is Emancipation Day in Washington, commemorating President Lincoln's signing of an 1862 law freeing slaves in the District of Columbia. They were the first slaves freed by the federal government during the Civil War, and in 2005 the city government made the day an official local holiday.

Because April 16 falls on Saturday this year, the D.C. holiday will be celebrated on Friday, April 15.

Federal workers, including those at the IRS who work in Washington, don't actually get the day off. But federal law requires the IRS to treat local holidays the same as federal holidays, which pushes the tax-filing deadline until Monday this year because it cannot fall on the weekend.

California follows the federal timetable, so residents have until Monday to file their state returns as well, according to the Franchise Tax Board.

Emancipation Day last affected tax filing in 2007, according to the IRS. April 15 fell on a Sunday, pushing tax-filing day to the following Monday. But that was the Washington holiday, giving taxpayers another day until April 17.

Taxpayers likely will get another break next year when April 15 once again falls on a Sunday.

-- Jim Puzzanghera

Photo: IRS headquarters in Washington. Credit: Bloomberg