Those who find themselves putting off getting their taxes done have some good news this time around — an extra three days to frolic in the puddle of procrastination, as the deadline has been changed from April 15 to April 18 this year.
The reason for the change has to do with Emancipation Day, an official public holiday in the District of Columbia. Even though North Carolina does not observe the holiday, its celebration affects taxpayers in 2016 because of its date, April 16, and a tax ruling.
An IRS revenue ruling states, “Emancipation Day … is a legal holiday in the District of Columbia. When April 16 is a Saturday, the preceding day is the observed holiday.”
April 16 falls on a Saturday this year, so Washington, D.C., will observe the holiday on Friday.
Since Emancipation Day is a legal holiday, it gets precedence over the April 15 tax deadline. Another IRS revenue ruling states as follows: “Section 7503 of the Code provides that, when April 15 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, a return is considered timely filed if it is filed on the next succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.”
This means that the deadline for filing tax returns with the IRS and the deadline for the first installment payment of estimated income tax is Monday.
“I don’t think most people know,” speculated Johnna Anderson, tax professional with H&R Block in Elizabethtown. “Some might have heard because of television or word of mouth, but a lot of people are surprised that it’s not due Friday.”
She added, “Every so often April 15 falls on a weekend, so the deadline might get extended by one or two days, but it’s not common that it gets extended by three days like it does this year.”
An extra three days might come as welcome news to people who get paid on Friday or to those who just dread the annual chore of compiling receipts and documents. Anderson doesn’t see the extension of the deadline changing much, however.
“Anybody who waits until the last minute is still going to wait until the last minute,” she jested. “If they usually wait until the 15th, they’re probably going to wait until the 18th.”
Phil Byrd, certified public accountant with S. Preston Douglas and Associates in Elizabethtown, agreed.
“There are two kinds of procrastinators—those who wait until April 15 and get it done and those who get an extension so they can wait until October,” he said lightheartedly. “We are happy for all the business, whether they are early filers or late filers.”
While the tax preparers and accountants may be scrambling, albeit gratefully, in the last-minute frenzy, John Q. Public can heave a sigh of relief over the weekend—or maybe he can just wait until later to relax.
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Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.