Tax Insights

Your Guide to State, Local, Federal, Estate + International Taxation

April 15th is Friday, But Tax Season does Not End Until When?

I have been a certified public accountant for more than half of my life. We are a very deadline driven group of individuals, especially those of us in the tax arena.  Generally, the fifteenth of every month is a tax deadline, with April 15th being the granddaddy of them all.

Every year tax season ends on April 15th, unless April 15th falls on a Saturday or Sunday.  In that case it ends on the following Monday.  That’s it.  That’s the rule.  You plan your extracurricular activities around that date.  You know when you can start planning evenings home with your family.  You can start socializing with your friends.  Heck, you can even go to the grocery store during daylight hours and not swing by late at night for a gallon of milk.  And you for sure know the date of the tax season party.

Now, however, there is a small chink in the plan.  Beginning in 2002, Washington, D.C. began celebrating Emancipation Day, which is the day that President Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act – back in 1862 (You know – the Emancipation Proclamation).  This, of course, is a fabulous thing.  A great celebration that occurs every year on April 16th.

Hiccup coming – unless April 16th is a Saturday.  In which case, Emancipation Day is celebrated on the Friday before.  (If April 16th falls on a Sunday, then the holiday is the following Monday.) The Friday before a Saturday would always be April 15th.  In 2011, April 15th is a holiday in Washington, D.C.

But, you may ask, how does a municipal holiday in Washington D.C. affect me and the rest of the country?  Because any holiday in Washington, D.C. apparently becomes a national holiday (no mail!), postponing the end of tax season for not only tax preparers nationwide, but also all taxpayers. (And don’t even think about the statute of limitations being extended!)

Projecting this forward, it means that we will never again have tax season end on a Friday.  And since we take the day after the last day of tax season as a firm holiday, there goes that three day weekend option.  Unless, April 15th falls on a Thursday.

But I checked – we do not get a tax season end on a Thursday until April 15, 2021.  Yes, you read that correctly.  In the next ten years, we have the following scenarios to look forward to as the last day of tax season:

• Monday:  3 times (2013, 2016 and 2019).
• Tuesday:  4 times (2012, 2014,2017, 2018)
• Wednesday: 2 times (2015 and 2020)
• Thursday: Once, 2021

So you all enjoy your weekend – it is supposed to be in the mid-nineties here in the Arizona desert.  I will be checking tax returns.

By Donna H. Laubscher, CPA


  1. It is nice to know that we have a little more time to prepare our taxes. It gives me a little bit of a relief and I am sure it also gives alot of other Americans a relief as well.