Tax Day-A Brief and Lighthearted History

This week we know the ONLY thing  people are thinking about is Tuesday, April 17th.  Many of us are still wading through piles of receipts, looking for forms, and pulling together the last few things needed to file our taxes. We dread them, we bedgrudge them, we put them off until the last possible second but this week and more likely,this week, many of us will be doing our taxes.

While we can’t legally give you tax advice, we can provide some interesting facts to note and some updates to discuss with your accountant for 2018.

Tax Day-A Brief History

Tax Day is April 15th, unless it isn’t.  So what is the story with that?  Isn’t Tax Day April 15th of every year?  Well,  like most things in government you have to check the fine print.

Tax day was originally March 1.

That date was chosen by our forefathers after they adopted the  16th Amendment on Feb, 3, 1913.  The 16th Amendment is the one which allows Congress the right to impose the income tax. Some people say they graciously allowed the people one year (plus a few) to get used to the idea and chose March 1, 1914 as the first official tax deadline date, but others believe it was just a random date, since the Revenue Act of 1913 was not actually passed until October of that year and THAT is the one that drastically reduced tariffs and established an income tax to offset the loss of revenue the government would be facing .  Fascinating stuff!

It wasn’t until 1955 that Tax Day was officially moved to April 15.

After a brief run on March 1, and then a switch to March 15 in 1918, April 15 was declared THE DAY in 1955.   The official reason for the change was that it allowed the IRS to spread out the workload of its employees and allowed taxpayers more time to do their taxes, especially as the tax code was changing and expanding.  Many people believe it is just another way for them to hold on to your money.  We’ll let you decide….

So, technically tax day is, and has been April 15 for over 60 years.  But when is it not? And why?

Tax day falls on April 15 UNLESS that day is a Saturday or Sunday, in which case they are due on the following Tuesday.

Tuesday? Where did Monday go?

Good question.  Washington DC celebrates Emancipation Day on April 16 every year. Emancipation Day is a holiday in Washington DC to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act, which president Abraham Lincoln signed on April 16, 1862. This act freed slaves in the District of Columbia and compensated owners up to $300 for each freeperson.  It is considered a state and local holiday in Washington DC and all government buildings are closed that day, including-you guessed it, the IRS.

If tax day falls on a Friday, the government shows you the great kindness of allowing you the whole weekend to finish up and file your taxes on the following Monday.  There is no historical reason for this that we could find, so we are just going to be graceful and say thank you!

All these changes!

While the date has been (mostly consistent) for years not, the tax laws change from time to time.  In fact, the tax law which started at a mere 11,400 words now weighs in at over 7 million. This year brought about new changes for homeowners that you should be aware of, and discuss with your accountant well in advance of the filing deadline for next year.

  1. The mortgage interest deduction can only be taken on mortgage debt of up to $750,000.
  2. The property tax deduction will be capped at $10,000
  3. Interest on home equity loans is longer be deductible.

Of course there are exceptions to everything and every situation is different, so you must make sure to get in touch with a CPA to see if these changes apply to you.

Fun facts that may help you on Trivia Night, or at least make you feel better about tax day.

On April 15 a great many things have happened over the years!

1755-Samuel Johnson published A Dictionary of the English Language in London.

1892-The Edison General Electric Company was formed. (GE)

1947-Jackie Robinson become the first African American baseball player in the MLB.

1955-McDonalds opened it first franchise in IL.

1983-Disneyland Tokyo opened to the public.

So, there a few good things to remember when April 15 comes to mind.  Maybe it’s not so bad after all!