Why is My Tax Return Not Due on April 15?

Emancipation Day has been a city holiday in the District of Columbia since 2005.  It commemorates the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act by Abraham Lincoln on April 16, 1862.  This Act permitted a payment of D.C. slave owners to free their slaves.  There is a parade and other events to celebrate the day that the U.S. Congress freed the slaves in Washington, D.C.  Also, D.C. City and federal employees get a paid day off.  That where the story of why tax returns in 2016 are not due on April 15.

Since 2000, Emancipation Day has been a private holiday in Washington, D. C. on April 16.   It became an official city holiday in 2005 with all government offices closed.  That made it a paid day off for government workers in D.C.—including employees of the Internal Revenue Service or IRS.

According to the rules of the city holiday, when April 16 is on a Saturday the holiday is celebrated on Friday April 15.  So the Internal Revenue Service (the IRS) is closed on April 15.  When April 15 falls on a holiday or weekend the tax filing deadline moves to the next business day.  So tax returns are not due on April 15 in 2016; but on April 18.   In fact, the tax return deadline falls on April 18 again in 2017.  The 2017 D.C. Emancipation Day is on a Sunday and the local D.C. and federal employees will have Monday (the 17th) as a holiday.  The rule for when Emancipation Day appears on Sunday is for city and federal offices to be closed on the following Monday.  Therefore the 2017 tax filing deadline will be on Tuesday, April 18.  In 2018, federal tax returns are due on Tuesday, April 17; again because of Emancipation Day.  The federal tax return deadline will return to April 15 in 2019.   

YearDistrict City & Federal Offices ClosedTax Filing Deadline

2016Friday, April 15Monday, April 18

2017Monday, April 17Tuesday, April 18

2018Monday, April 16Tuesday, April 17

 So enjoy your three-day reprieve on filing your 2015 tax returns.

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