Tax calendar alert: 2015 returns due Monday 4/18/2016
Maine and Massachusetts taxpayers to get even more time thanks to Patriots Day
I once worked for a company that was waaaaaay into scheduling. I mean years and years ahead scheduling.
It always cracked me up when I was asked to put such long-term appointments in my datebook. Sure, I'll mark my calendar and be around then…maybe.
Dates, however, are crucial to taxes. Miss one and, if you owe Uncle Sam, you'll owe him even more.
Tax Day 2016 is April 18: So it's no surprise that the Internal Revenue Service is already announcing a tweak in connection with the 2016 tax filing deadline.
At issue is a confluence of tax deadlines and state and federal holidays. It's a complicated mix, but the bottom line is that all of us get a little more time to file our taxes next year.
Most taxpayers will have until April 18, 2016, to file our 2015 tax returns and to make our first 2016 estimated tax payment.
That third Monday in April next year also is Patriots Day, a state holiday in Maine and Massachusetts. Because of that, taxpayers in those two states will have until Tuesday, April 19, 2016, to file their federal tax returns.
But the Patriots Day holiday has no effect on estimated tax payments by Maine and Massachusetts filers. They still must get that first estimated payment for the 2016 tax year to the IRS by Monday, April 18, 2016.
Deciphering the IRS calendar: Here's how the IRS came up with the 2016 tax filing schedule adjustments. You might want to take a deep breath. I'm about to quote, highlighted, some tax speak from Revenue Ruling 2015-13 issued by the IRS today.
Section 7503 of the Internal Revenue Code provides that, when April 15 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, a return is considered timely filed if it is filed on the next succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.
So that usually means when April 15 falls on a holiday or weekend day, we have until the next Monday to file.
Now back to another tax code for the federal filing implications of another special day.
The term "legal holiday" includes a legal holiday observed in the District of Columbia. … Emancipation Day, April 16, is a legal holiday in the District of Columbia [D.C. Code §28-2701 (2010)]. When April 16 is a Saturday, the preceding day is the observed holiday, and when it is a Sunday, the succeeding day is the observed holiday.
Got that? By Washington, D.C. law, in some years Emancipation Day is April 15 and in others it's April 17. And since the Emancipation Day holiday affects federal tax schedules, by falling on Saturday next year, that means it is moved back to Friday, April 15, 2016, the usual federal Tax Day.
That shift therefore means we all get until the next Monday, April 18, 2016, to complete our 2015 tax year returns.
While the route to get there was twisty, I'll always take some extra time to deal with my 1040 or file Form 4868 to get a six-month extension.
Calendar calculations for New Englanders: The calendar shifting doesn't stop there if you live in a couple of New England states.
Patriots Day, an official state holiday in Maine and Massachusetts, is the third Monday in April. This commemoration of the Revolutionary War battles at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, sometimes coincides with federal Tax Day.
That happens again in 2016, thanks to the move of Emancipation Day and the subsequent shift of the federal filing deadline to April 18, 2016. And that calendar convergence means that taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts get until next April 19, 2016, to file their 2015 federal returns.
The reason for this extra day is because the IRS federal offices in those two states also close for Patriots Day. And although IRS restructuring means that Maine and Massachusetts returns are now processed at the agency's Kansas City, Missouri, campus, federal law also allows for taxpayers to file their annual returns in a timely manner by hand delivering the forms to their local IRS office.
Again, here's the official IRS word on the matter.
Pursuant to Treasury Regulation § 1.6091-2(d)(1), individuals who reside in Massachusetts and Maine may elect to file their returns by hand at their local IRS Office located in Massachusetts or Maine. When the last day for residents of those states to file their returns by hand falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, section 7503 extends the due date to the next succeeding day which is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday. We interpret this rule to extend the due date for filing income tax returns for all residents of Massachusetts and Maine pursuant to section 7503, including those who do not elect to file by hand.
That means all Massachusetts or Maine residents, even those who snail mail or e-file their tax returns instead of dropping it off at an IRS facility, still get the extra day.
Estimated tax payment exception: They don't, however, get an extra 24 hours to pay if they also are filing estimated taxes.
Estimated tax payments are dealt with separately and have different filing and processing addresses than do regular 1040s.
Form 1040-ES filings by Maine and Massachusetts taxpayers now go to Hartford, Connecticut. And there's no notation for hand delivery. Since Patriots Day isn't a holiday in the Nutmeg State, Maine and Massachusetts estimate tax payers must get that voucher to the IRS' Hartford office (or postmarked) by the April 18, 2016, deadline.
So is your tax calendar appropriately annotated?
Don't worry. The IRS and the ol' blog will remind you again as the 2015 filing deadlines in April 2016 get closer.
But just in case you're a bit obsessive-compulsive about long-term planning like my former employer, I wanted you have as early a heads-up as possible.
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