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Washington holiday extends deadline to file taxes

You have until Monday to turn in your paperwork, thanks to the capital's Emancipation Day being marked on Friday this year.

April 12, 2011|By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
  • Despite the extra time granted to tax filers this year, there still is likely to be a rush on Monday. Above, drivers line up to drop off tax returns at a post office in Santa Ana on a previous tax day.
Despite the extra time granted to tax filers this year, there still is likely… (Lori Shepler, Los Angeles…)

Reporting from Washington — This Friday is April 15, the date synonymous with taxes, nervous twitches, occasional protests, sporadic cursing and late-night trips to the post office.

But if you're running behind on your paperwork, or just hoping to hold on to your money a bit longer, you've got a few extra days this year.

Thanks to a little-known Washington holiday and some odd Internal Revenue Service rules, taxpayers have until Monday to file their federal returns.

It's a bit convoluted — what would you expect from Washington? — but here's why.

April 16 is Emancipation Day in Washington, commemorating President Lincoln's signing of the 1862 law freeing slaves in the District of Columbia. They were the first slaves freed by the federal government during the Civil War, and in 2005 the city government made the day an official local holiday.

Because Emancipation Day falls on Saturday this year, it will be celebrated Friday.

Federal workers, including those at the IRS who work in Washington, don't actually get the day off. But federal law requires the IRS to treat local holidays the same as federal holidays, which pushes the tax-filing deadline to Monday this year because it cannot fall on the weekend.

California follows the federal timetable, so residents have until Monday to file their state returns as well, according to the Franchise Tax Board.

Emancipation Day last affected tax filing in 2007, according to the IRS. April 15 fell on a Sunday, pushing tax-filing day to the the next day. But that was the Washington holiday, so taxpayers got until April 17.

Taxpayers probably will get another break next year when April 15 once again falls on a Sunday.

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