Most people always have marked down April 15 in their calendars as tax day, the deadline for getting taxes done and turned in to avoid penalties and fees. However, the date has changed in 2016 because of Emancipation Day in Washington D.C., which falls on April 15, 2016. Emancipation Day is considered a national holiday, meaning federal offices will be closed, including the IRS. Here is a look at the history of tax day, what Emancipation Day is all about, and when the deadline for taxes is in 2016.
Why Is April 15 Tax Day?
Tax Day wasn’t always April 15. When the Congress passed the 16th Amendment in 1914, they named March 1 as Tax Day. The reason for that was because it was one year to the date since they signed in the 16th Amendment. In 1918, the IRS moved Tax Day to March 15 and then in 1955, they moved it to April 15, where it has remained for the last 61 years. The reason given by the IRS for moving the date to April was to help the workload of IRS employees. However, another thought is that the extra month allows the IRS to hold onto refunds longer to make more interest off the money.
What Is Emancipation Day?
2016 is not the first time that Tax Day was moved in the last 61 years. In 2005, Washington D.C. enacted Emancipation Day, which officially falls on April 16. This marks the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln signing the Compensated Emancipation Act and it is a government holiday, with government offices closed and many public services shut down as well. However, when Emancipation Day falls on either Saturday or Sunday, the holiday will be observed on either the Friday before or the Monday after. This happened in 2011, and Tax Day was moved as a result in that year.
When is Tax Day This Year?
Because Emancipation Day falls on April 15 this year, it means that Tax Day in 2016 will now fall on April 18, the Monday following the Emancipation Day weekend. The same thing happened in 2011. However, when Emancipation Day falls on a weekend in 2017, it will be moved to April 17, and Tax Day will remain the same. This isn’t the only time that Tax Day moves, as any time that Tax Day falls on a weekend it is also moved. In 2012, when Tax Day fell on a Sunday and Emancipation Day fell on Monday, Tax Day was also moved to April 17 in that year as well.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com.