Tax Day in the United States

When is Tax Day in the United States?

Tax Day is among the federal government’s most prominent holidays. Also called Income Tax Day, it falls on every April 15th. It marks the date in which all income tax filings are due, although some taxpayers complete their returns as early as January. While dreaded by some taxpayers, there is no doubt that Tax Day is here to stay and that all Americans should prepare accordingly.

History Based on War?

While certainly everyone knows about April 15th as being Tax Day, there are numerous misconceptions about the history behind the holiday. The United States was officially established in 1776, but widespread taxes weren’t introduced until the start of the Civil War. According to the Library of Congress, the Revenue Act of 1861 was passed by Congress in order to help pay for the Civil War. This was the first time the nation every taxed the personal income of its citizens. In 1871, with the war being long over, the income tax was repealed. However, this wouldn’t be the last time that American citizens would experience income taxes on a national level.

Evolution of Tax Day

Over two decades after the repeal of the Revenue Act, the issue of taxation was brought up once again. In 1894, a flat rate tax was introduced by Congress to help pay for federal expenses. However, the Library of Congress says that this tax law was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. This is because the tax was a flat rate and didn’t look at variations, such as income differences and location.

Modern Tax Day saw its official beginnings in 1913 with the passing of the 16th amendment. At this point, taxing without considering differences in location was not ruled unconstitutional. Tax Day was on March 1st until it was pushed to March 15th in 1918. It wasn’t until 1954 that April 15th became the national Tax Day. Since then, changes to tax system continue to evolve. Among one of the most notable changes was set forth by the Affordable Care Act. If tax payers didn’t have healthcare by March 31, 2014, they could be subjected to a penalty by the IRS.

Variations in Dates

While April 15th is generally considered as the absolute deadline for income tax returns, the holiday can sometimes fall on a different date. This happens when April 15th falls on a weekend, as government offices are only open on weekdays. The last time Tax Day occurred on a different date was on April 17, 2012. The next time this will occur is on April 18, 2016. Some may view such a difference as a few days’ extension on their income taxes. If you have to file a state tax return, it’s due on the same date as the federal return.

 Resource:

http://www.loc.gov/rr/business/hottopic/irs_history.html



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