April 18, 2000 — The first runner across the Boston Marathon finish line yesterday got the attention, but the real winners were taxpayers from across the Northeast.

That’s because the Internal Revenue Service granted them an extra day to get tax returns completed and in the mail.

But today is it, Yankees! Your returns must be postmarked by midnight April 18, 2000.

The one-day filing reprieve comes because yesterday was Patriot’s Day, a state holiday in Maine and Massachusetts. Since New England’s returns are processed at the Andover, Mass., Internal Revenue Service Center, the IRS decided to give all Northeastern federal filers a tax holiday.

The lucky taxpayers are those who live in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and most of New York. Residents of New York City and the counties of Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester, however, had to meet yesterday’s original tax deadline because their returns are not processed at the Andover facility.

But there is one question left to be answered.

When today is done, who will have completed their assigned course faster, the thousands of 26-milers in the streets of Boston yesterday or the thousands of filers navigating the twisting federal tax code to meet the April 18 deadline?