Business & Real Estate

Washington, D.C., holiday gives taxpayers extra time to file returns

In this April 13, 2014 file photo, the Internal Revenue Service Headquarters (IRS) building is seen in Washington. The IRS traditionally requires that taxes be filed each year on April 15, but because that falls on Emancipation Day this year, the deadline was extended to April 18. And taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts, where Patriots’ Day is observed on the 18th, have until the 19th to file.
In this April 13, 2014 file photo, the Internal Revenue Service Headquarters (IRS) building is seen in Washington. The IRS traditionally requires that taxes be filed each year on April 15, but because that falls on Emancipation Day this year, the deadline was extended to April 18. And taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts, where Patriots’ Day is observed on the 18th, have until the 19th to file. AP

Still haven’t filed your income tax returns? Relax, you still have time.

Historically, April 15 is the deadline to file returns, but the deadline was pushed to April 18 this year because Washington, D.C., celebrated Emancipation Day on Friday.

Karen Edgar, a registered tax preparer with the Sacramento firm of Edgar & Associates LLP, said Friday that the rare deadline extension undoubtedly comes as a relief to both taxpayers and professional return preparers.

“Because it’s not due until the 18th, (taxpayers) think, ‘Sure, oh good, now I’ve got the weekend,’ ” she said. “We have the same mentality. We have two more days to work with.”

Former British colonies in the Caribbean and some areas of the United States recognize various dates in observance of the emancipation of slaves of African descent. In the United States, the District of Columbia marks the day in 1862 (actually April 16) when President Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, freeing more than 3,000 slaves in the district nine months before Lincoln issued the broader Emancipation Proclamation.

Because it’s not due until the 18th, (taxpayers) think, ‘Sure, oh good, now I’ve got the weekend.’ We have the same mentality. We have two more days to work with.

Karen Edgar, a registered tax preparer with the Sacramento firm of Edgar & Associates LLP in Sacramento

In simple terms, it means that Internal Revenue Service offices in Washington, D.C., were closed on Friday, giving all U.S. taxpayers an extra couple of days to make Monday’s filing deadline.

In California, quite a few people are waiting until the last minute.

On Thursday, the state Franchise Tax Board said it had received about 11.5 million state returns, meaning that about 6 million returns had yet to be filed.

The Internal Revenue Service said it has received around 107 million individual income tax returns, or about 70 percent of the 150.6 million the agency projects that it will receive during 2016.

The IRS and FTB noted that taxpayers have the option of applying for a six-month extension to file their tax returns, pushing the deadline into mid-October. However, the additional six months applies only as an extension to file a return. If taxpayers owe taxes this year, those payments must be made (or postmarked) by Monday to avoid interest and penalties.

The FTB offers various services to taxpayers who have yet to file returns.

Online payment options are available by clicking on the “All Payment Options” link at ftb.ca.gov. Taxpayers with general questions about state taxes can call FTB at 800-852-5711 or contact the board via its LiveChat link, here.

Multiple assistance, payment and filing options for federal income tax returns can be found at irs.gov.

The IRS is reminding taxpayers that most will simply check a box related to their household’s health care coverage, a requirement under the federal Affordable Care Act. If everyone listed on a return had qualifying health care coverage for the entire year, taxpayers should simply check the box on the return indicating that.

This is the first year that taxpayers received new forms to provide information about health care coverage. While forms 1095-B and 1095-C may assist in preparing a return, they are not required, the IRS said.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

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