- Tax Day
In the United States, Tax Day is a colloquial term for the day on which individual income tax returns are due to the federal government. The term may also refer to the same day for states, even where the tax return due date is a different day.
Since 1955, Tax Day is usually on April 15. When April 15 falls on a weekend, Emancipation Day, or any other holiday, tax returns are instead due on the following business day. In 2011, Tax Day was April 18.
Federal income tax was introduced with the Revenue Act of 1861 to help fund the Civil War. That Act stipulated that income tax "shall be due and payable on or before the thirtieth day of June". There is an unsubstantiated claim that the first income tax was paid only by the very wealthy, and they tended to spend their summers vacationing. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue is said to have argued, "The collection of taxes would be much easier if an earlier assessment was made, before they leave town."
The case of Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. challenged the constitutionality of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act of 1894 which taxed incomes over $4,000 at the rate of two percent. The case was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1895. The Supreme Court decided that the Act's unapportioned income taxes on interest, dividends, and rents were effectively direct taxes. The Act was therefore unconstitutional because it violated the Constitution's rule that direct taxes be apportioned. In 1913, eighteen years later, the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. This Amendment gave the United States Congress the legal authority to tax all incomes without regard to the apportionment requirement.
The filing deadline for individuals was March 1 in 1913 and was changed to March 15 in 1918 and again to April 15 in 1955. Today, the filing deadline for U.S. federal income tax returns for individuals remains April 15 or, in the event that the 15th falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the first succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or holiday.
Tax Day occasionally falls on Patriots' Day, a civic holiday in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and state of Maine, or the preceding weekend. When this occurred for some time, the federal tax deadline was extended by a day for the residents of Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and the District of Columbia because the IRS processing center for these areas was located in Andover, Massachusetts and the unionized IRS employees got the day off. In 2011, the Monday, April 18, Tax Day fell on Patriots' Day. However, federal filings were directed to Hartford, Connecticut, Charlotte, North Carolina and Kansas City, Missouri and there was no further extension for Maine, Massachusetts or other surrounding states' residents. The Maine state tax filing deadline was still extended to April 19 in 2011 due to Patriots' Day.
In 2007, Tax Day was on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 because April 15 fell on a Sunday and Monday, April 16 was Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in the District of Columbia. A storm and flooding affected the Northeast that year and certain states were granted additional time to file. In some cases, the deadline was extended to as late as June 25. In 2011, the federal tax deadline was extended to April 18, since Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C., was celebrated on April 15, a Friday.
- ^ U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 9.
- ^ Sung, Jessica (2002-04-15). "Why Is Tax Day April 15?". Fortune. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2002/04/15/321414/index.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
- ^ "Patriot's Day 2007 Gives Some Taxpayers Extra Tax Time, IR-2006-170". Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of the Treasury. 2006-11-08. http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=164052,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
- ^ "Massachusetts - Where to File Addresses for Individual Taxpayers", irs.gov. Retrieved 2011-04-18.
- ^ "Why is the deadline today?", sidebar to tax story "Who's paying taxes? Half of us" by Stephen Ohlemacher, AP, Portland Press Herald, April 18, 2011 12:17 AM EDT. No reference to Patriots' Day and deadline pegged at "midnight tonight." Retrieved 2011-04-18.
- ^ "Tax Day 2011: Tax Deadlines for Tax Year 2010", eFile website, n.d. No reference to Patriots' Day and deadline pegged at April 18. Retrieved 2011-04-18.
- ^ "Due Dates for Certain Tax Forms", Maine Tax Report, Vol. 21, No. 1, January, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-18.
- ^ "IRS Gives April 16 Storm Victims Additional 48 Hours to File Income Tax Returns". Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of the Treasury. 2007-04-16. http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=169523,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-16.
- ^ "IRS Grants Tax Relief for Certain Northeast Storm, Flooding Victims; Taxpayers Have Until June 22 to File Returns". Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of the Treasury. http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=169765,00.html.
Non-holiday traditions in the United States
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