Since the “Tax Day” 2016 deadline has been extended, America’s income tax payers have a few more days to file their returns if they haven’t already done so.
Since 1955, April 15 has been considered as the deadline for income tax payers in the United States, or as it is colloquially known “Tax Day.” However, in case the date falls on a weekend, the subsequent work day is considered as the Tax Day. Confusingly, despite falling on a Friday this year, the deadline has still been pushed back to Monday, April 18. It appears the delay is due to the Emancipation Day in the District of Colombia.
According to KHAK, Emancipation Day is celebrated on April 16, but due to a special provision in the law, it has to be moved to the closest weekday, which instead of pushing it forward, has been pushed a day back this year. This effectively throws Tax Day to the next business day, which is April 18. Incidentally, if you are filing in Massachusetts or Maine, another holiday grants you an additional day to file your income tax returns this year.
Emancipation Day is celebrated on April 16 because on that that day in 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, which freed slaves in the District of Columbia. Interestingly, the slave owners had a windfall that day because they received “compensation” of up to $300 per slave to grant the marginalized laborers their freedom. It is estimated that the act granted freedom to over 3,000 slaves and helped America truly become a “Land of the Free.”
In D.C., when Emancipation Day falls on a Saturday, as it does this year, the celebration moves back a day to Friday, reports Forbes. Hence the Tax Day gets the boot until the following business day, which is Monday, April 18. Interestingly, the Tax Day varies significantly from state to state. According to eFile, Louisiana gives residents until May 15 to file, Virginia’s deadline for state income taxes is May 2, and the Iowa deadline is April 30.
You can buy even more time; however, to earn an extension, you must not owe the government anything. Using IRS Free File you can get an automatic six-month extension to file your taxes. But, those who owe taxes don’t get such privilege. Nonetheless, those who can’t pay what they owe can still convert their IRS returns into an EMI using the Online Payment Agreement option.
How can taxpayers better use these extra days to file their returns? Besides allowing you to carefully scrutinize the physically filled information on the paper-based returns, these extra days gained due to the extended deadline in 2016 won’t offer much help. Nonetheless, fact-checking as well as re-computing the returns should help in minimizing errors, which are unsurprisingly, very common. Additionally, there are multiple aspects about income tax returns you can acclimatize with. Still, the popular option appears to be electronic filing of taxes.
According to the IRS, many taxpayers are now increasingly choosing to file their tax returns electronically. According to the Detroit News, electronic filing was up 2.4 percent in 2015 from 2014. Similarly, taxpayers are growing accustomed to direct deposits of refunds as compared to physical financial instruments like mailed checks. During these extra days, you can even decide if you want the deposit in a single or multiple accounts and then fill in the appropriate boxes.
The IRS revealed that more than 86 million tax refunds were issued through direct deposits in 2015, which is up 2.7 percent when compared to 2014. Incidentally, the IRS now strongly urges taxpayers to take the online route to file income tax returns, “Choosing e-file and direct deposit for refunds remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund,” reads the website.
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