April 15 Tax Return Postmark Deadline? Not This Year

Yes, the IRS is a stickler about April 15 postmarks on tax returns. Except when it isn’t, which is on certain holidays. Learn why.

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https://tickertapecdn.tdameritrade.com/assets/images/pages/md/Pinning dates: Why tax deadlines are a little different this year
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If you got used to an April 15 tax filing deadline over the years, it's time to emancipate yourself from that habit. Why "emancipate?" Because a Washington, D.C. holiday called "Emancipation Day," along with the timing of weekends, means that the last day to file taxes this year will be Tuesday, April 17, not April 15.

That makes 2018 the third year in a row that the familiar April 15 tax deadline won't be in effect. If you're sentimental and really don't enjoy having the extra time, it might warm your heart to know that in 2019, tax day will once again be April 15.

If you really love dates and deadlines, and you want to learn more, read the IRS Publication 509 to your heart's content. This is where you'll find all the important tax milestones for 2018 listed.

Remember, too, that the mailing deadline for consolidated 1099 forms is now February 15, not January 31. (See this recent "Tax-Filing Myth Buster" for more info.) The deadline changed starting with the 2008 tax year. 

Getting back to those individual tax forms, what is Emancipation Day, and why does it affect the tax deadline?

Emancipation Day (Monday, April 16)

  • Emancipation Day is an official public holiday celebrated in Washington, D.C., on Monday, April 16.
  • All federal offices are closed.
  • That gives taxpayers across the nation until Tuesday, April 17, to get their tax returns postmarked.  

What Is Emancipation Day?

  • It marks the anniversary of the day in 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln inked the Compensated Emancipation Act, which freed more than 3,000 enslaved people in the District of Columbia.
  • As the official archives tell us, slavery was not formally abolished across the U.S. until after the Civil War, which was fought from 1861 to 1865.
  • It was the 13th Amendment, ratified by 27 of the then-36 states, that put an end to legal slavery in 1865.

This article is an update of the original "April 15 Tax Return Postmark Deadline? Not This Year" published on February 13, 2017.

TD Ameritrade does not provide tax advice. We suggest you consult with a tax-planning professional with regard to your personal circumstances.

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To speak with a Tax Services Representative, call 800-669-3900 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET. 

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