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An extra day to file

Thursday, Jan. 25
Posted 11:30 a.m. EST

An extra day to file

April 17 is the deadline to submit your 2006 return to the Internal Revenue Service.

This is not a joke. The extra day is courtesy of a calendar quirk and the unusual convergence of a Washington, D.C., holiday and the regular tax-filing deadline.

The filing date change came as a surprise to the IRS, too.

But, after double-checking the Washington, D.C., holiday calendar, the agency discovered that it had overlooked a peculiarity in tax law that ties IRS activity to the District of Columbia.

April 16 is the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C. And under a federal statute enacted decades ago, holidays observed in the District of Columbia have an impact nationwide, not just in D.C. That fact, however, slipped past everyone at the tax agency until now.

Earlier IRS publications, every package of tax-filing software and all those how-to-file guides in bookstores nationwide proclaimed that Monday, April 16, was the deadline. Yes, even Bankrate's handy Tax Calendar noted the April 16 deadline and we've now noted the new one. The original extra day was because the official due date of April 15 fell on a Sunday.

"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," according to the IRS statement on the new filing date.

The discovery means we all can ignore references to April 16. The following don't have to be filed until the next day:

  • 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.
  • Individual estimated tax payments for the first quarter of 2007, whether made electronically or by check.

The extension also gives you an extra day to put money in an IRA and have it count as a 2006 contribution.

The IRS addresses additional situations where the April 17 date applies in a FAQ Web page about the deadline change.

I'm sure procrastinators around the country are celebrating right now. And I'm just as sure that at 11:55 p.m. April 17, they will be lining up outside the local post office that stays open late on tax-deadline day.

 

-- Posted: Jan. 25, 2007

 
 
 
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