Did you know that Tax Day isn’t always on April 15? There’s a whole lot more to the history of Tax Day in America than most of us even know. How many different dates has the deadline sat on? What other events can cause the deadline to change? Which constitutional amendments have affected how Tax Day came to be? So many questions, but we’ve got the answers.
Tax Day Facts
- Income Taxes Were Initially Deemed Unconstitutional. During the Civil War, the government instated a federal income tax to support the War with the Revenue Act of 1861. However, because the US Constitution had a rule within it that prohibited direct taxes, this Act was later deemed unconstitutional.
- The Constitution Was Amended to Allow Income Taxation. The government revisited income taxation with the Sixteenth Amendment in 1913, which gave Congress the authority to disregard the apportionment requirement in the Constitution as it pertained to federal income taxes.
- Tax Day has Changed Three Times in American History. When federal income taxes were first collected, March 1 was the deadline to file. In 1918, Tax Day moved to March 15 after Congress passed another Revenue Act. It wasn’t until 1955 that Tax Day was moved once again, where it has since remained on April 15.
- Tax Day Isn’t Always April 15. Although we all know Tax Day to be April 15, there are a couple of holidays that can actually change the date that taxes are due each year.
- Emancipation Day is a legal holiday in Washington DC that is celebrated on April 16, or the closest weekday. A federal statute mandates that holidays observed in DC have a nationwide impact, which allows Emancipation Day to give Tax Day the boot if the two coincide. During years when April 15 is a Friday, taxes are due the following Monday; when April 15 is a Saturday or a Sunday, taxes are due the following Tuesday (and Emancipation Day is observed that Monday).
- Patriots’ Day is a legal holiday in Massachusetts, Maine, and Wisconsin that is celebrated on the third Monday of every April. This holiday exists to honor the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, which kicked off the American Revolutionary War. This is the day that marks the beginning of Spring Recess for public schools in Maine and Massachusetts, and is a public school observance day in Wisconsin. The holiday is also encouraged in Florida, but is not considered a public holiday there.
- If You’re an American Living Outside the US, You File Later. IRS Publication 54 allows Americans who live outside of the US and Puerto Rico an automatic two month extension to file their federal income taxes.
- Slide in Under the Wire by E-Filing. April 15 is the last day to file your federal income taxes, but if you’re filing online, you have until 11:59pm to submit your returns.
There you have it! You learn something new every day! If you haven’t filed yet, get going—there are only a few hours left!