This is not a premature April Fool's Day joke. The Internal Revenue Service announced that the filing deadline for many income tax returns otherwise due on April 15, 2007, will instead be due on Tuesday, April 17, 2007. See: "Questions and Answers — April 17 Deadline", posted by the IRS.
In 2007, April 15th falls on a Sunday. The IRS notes: "By law, filing and payment deadlines that fall on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday are timely satisfied if met on the next business day."
In most states, the next business day will be Monday, April 16th, when returns normally would be due. However, Monday, April 16th is "Emancipation Day"!
According to Wikipedia, Emancipation Day is a national holiday in the Bahamas that commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire on August 1, 1834. It is widely celebrated throughout the Caribbean or British West Indies by English-speaking people, generally on the first Monday in August, when they hold carnivals.
So what does that have to do with the IRS' extension of the tax-filing deadline in 2007? Stay with me.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, which affected only the District of Columbia, on April 16, 1862. This process freed individual slaves by paying owners a price for the release, and then prohibiting future slavery in that jurisdiction.
Washington, DC was the only place in the United States where compensated emancipation occurred. Eight months later, by issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, slavery was formally abolished in the Northern states. Then after the Civil War, in 1865, the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially ended slavery in America.But the marking of Emancipation Day was not forgotten in the District of Columbia.
On January 4, 2005, Mayor Anthony Williams signed legislation making Emancipation Day an official public holiday in the District.
Each year, a series of activities will be held during the public holiday including the traditional Emancipation Day parade celebrating the freedom of enslaved persons in the District of Columbia.
The Emancipation Day celebration was held yearly from 1866 to 1901, and was resumed under the leadership of Councilmember Vincent Orange as a tradition and historic celebration in 2002.
The IRS Announcement explains the effect of D.C.'s local, legal holiday -- Emancipation Day:
Under a federal statute enacted decades ago, holidays observed in the District of Columbia have an impact nationwide, not just in D.C. Under recently enacted city legislation, April 16 is a holiday in the District of Columbia. The IRS recently became aware of the intersection of the national filing day and the local observance of the new Emancipation Day holiday after most forms and publications for the current tax filing season went to print.
Individuals in the District of Columbia, as well as in six eastern states, already had an April 17 filing date prior to this announcement because they are served by an IRS processing facility in Massachusetts, where Patriots Day will be observed on April 16. These individuals are still required to file on April 17.
The IRS lists certain tax return filing deadlines that will be postponed to April 17, 2007:
- Calendar-year 2006 federal individual income tax returns, whether filed electronically or on paper (Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ).
- Requests for an automatic six-month tax-filing extension on an individual return for calendar-year 2006, whether submitted electronically or on Form 4868.
- Tax-year 2006 balance-due payments, whether made electronically (direct debit or credit card) or by check.
- For calendar-year taxpayers, individual estimated tax payments for the first quarter of 2007, whether made electronically or by check. In rare cases, estimated tax payments for the second, third and fourth quarters may be affected for individuals operating on a fiscal year that is not a calendar year.
- Individual refund claims for tax year 2003, where the regular three-year statute of limitations is expiring.
- For calendar-year taxpayers, tax-year 2006 contributions to a Roth or traditional IRA.
- Corporation income tax returns, including S corporations (Forms 1120, 1120-A and 1120S) for a fiscal year ending on Jan. 31, 2007, and any balance due.
- For a calendar-year corporation, the estimated tax payment for the first quarter of 2007. In some cases, estimated tax payments for the second, third and fourth quarters may be affected for corporations operating on a fiscal year that is not a calendar year.
- Calendar-year estate and trust income tax returns (Form 1041) and any balance due.
- For calendar-year estates and trusts, the estimated tax payment for the first quarter of 2007. In some cases, estimated tax payments for the second, third and fourth quarters may be affected for estates and trusts operating on a fiscal year that is not a calendar year.
- Calendar-year 2006 partnership returns (Form 1065).
- Annual information returns (Form 990) and unrelated business income tax returns (Form 990-T) for tax-exempt organizations with a fiscal year ending on Nov. 30, 2006.
- Calendar-year 2006 Form 990-T for certain employee trusts, retirement plans and education savings plans.
- Extension requests for any return.
- The March tax deposit for employers (generally, small businesses) required to deposit withholding taxes on a monthly basis.
- Withholding-tax deposits for larger employers, subject to the next day deposit rule.
The IRS Announcement says it all; and you should read it. Again, it is found here.
But don't count on it happening every year.
The IRS notes: "The next year that Emancipation Day could affect filing deadlines is 2011."