How DC gave you three extra days to file your taxes this year

Thanks to a District of Columbia (DC) holiday, the IRS moved Tax Day back three days to April 18 this year.

Jim Bourg/Reuters/File
The Lincoln Memorial is seen at sunrise in Washington (April 5, 2015). Memorial Day weekend offers some of the best sales of the season.

Don't say the nation's capital never does anything for you. Thanks to a District of Columbia (DC) holiday, the IRS moved Tax Day back three days to April 18 this year.

Since 1955, April 15 has served as Tax Day in the United States, but the IRS can delay the filing deadline when it coincides with a holiday. While there is no national holiday on April 15, there is one in DC. Since 2005 the city has celebrated Emancipation Day on April 16, recognizing the date in 1862 when President Lincoln signed the DC Compensated Emancipation Act and abolished slavery in the District—eight months before the Emancipation Proclamation. When April 16 falls on a Saturday, as it does this year, DC observes the holiday on Friday, April 15.

While the federal government does not honor Emancipation Day, the IRS recognizes it as a "legal holiday" because it’s observed in DC. As such, they moved Tax Day to the next Monday and gave all Americans an extra three days to complete their 1040s. (Residents of Maine and Massachusetts get yet more time because they celebrate Patriots Day on April 18, but the rest of the nation does not benefit from that local holiday.)

Moving Tax Day back a few days is not only a victory for procrastinating Americans, it's also a role-reversal for DC, which has a complicated and often one-sided relationship with the federal government. Because the Constitution grants Congress authority over the District "in all cases whatsoever," federal lawmakers often meddle with DC's government. Congress has used its authority to block DC laws on marijuana, abortion, and clean-needles. Until a court ruling this March, DC could not even spend its own budget funds on anything without congressional approval, putting its tax dollars and government spending in limbo every time Congress got into one of its budget spat. And the federal government will probably never allow DC to tax the income of nonresident commuters who work in the city. Not to mention the 670,000 residents of DC that still don't get a vote in Congress.

But every few years DC gets to flip the script and push back the federal government's Tax Day, providing filers throughout the country a brief reprieve. So give DC a thank you.

This article first appeared in TaxVox.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.