For the second year in a row, the traditional April 15th Federal Tax filing due date is being moved for a local holiday observance. Here’s what you need to know about Emancipation Day and how it affects the traditional tax filing deadline.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act on April 16, 1862, freeing more than 3,000 slaves in the District of Columbia. In 2005, April 16th started being observed as a legal holiday in the District of Columbia honoring Emancipation Day. (The 13th Amendment officially ended slavery throughout the United States when it was ratified on December 6, 1865.)
Other states observe Emancipation Day on different dates:
- Virginia – April 3rd
- Mississippi – May 8th
- Florida – May 20th
- Georgia – Saturday closest to May 29th
- Texas – June 19th
- Kentucky and Tennessee – August 8th
- Maryland – November 1st
This year’s April 15th tax filing deadline falls on a Saturday, which would normally push this deadline to the next business day, which is Monday, April 17.
But Emancipation Day also falls on a weekend in 2023, making Monday, April 17 the observed holiday in Washington D.C. Because the observed Emancipation Day holiday falls on the same day as this year’s normal tax filing deadline of April 17th, the IRS is required by law to move the tax filing due date to the next business day, which is Tuesday, April 18th. Most states have also changed their traditional filing due date of April 15th to match the federal date change.
Confused? You’re not alone. In 2005, the IRS forgot to accommodate for this Washington D.C. holiday despite being legally required to move the filing date.
The good news is you can avoid the need to understand all these changing dates by filing your return as soon as possible, and not waiting until the last minute!