Why Tax Day falls on Tuesday the 17th

By Katharine Swan On Saturday, April 14, 2018 At 12:23 PM

You may have noticed that Tax Day is on Tuesday this year, April 17th, instead of the usual April 15th.  With the 15th falling on Sunday it's obvious why it's not that day, but did you wonder why it's not Monday?

I was afraid I was getting wrong information and didn't want to file late, so I looked it up to be sure, and this is what I found.

Tax Day is on Tuesday not only because the 15th falls on the weekend, but also because Washington, D.C. celebrates a holiday on the 16th, so it can't be on that day either.  That's Emancipation Day, the annual celebration of the day President Lincoln freed the slaves in Washington D.C.

That last part is important, because the day is actually the anniversary of the Compensated Emancipation Act, signed into law on April 16, 1862.  The act freed slaves in D.C. by paying their owners for their value, hence the compensation part.  And it only impacted D.C., hence why the day is a holiday only for D.C.

I was confused when I first read that the 16th is Emancipation Day because I was pretty sure that wasn't the date of the Emancipation Proclamation, and I was right.  The Emancipation Proclamation -- freeing the rest of the slaves, with no compensation involved -- was issued on January 1, 1863.

So I guess you can thank Abraham Lincoln for having until Tuesday to do your taxes this year.  Next year the 15th will start falling during the week again, so Tax Day will go back to normal.


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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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