tax deadline

Friday was the 15th of April, which usually would mean you missed the deadline for filing your income taxes by now.

But because of a holiday only celebrated in Washington D.C., the IRS moved the date to Monday, the 18th, this year.

But the 16th of April is the anniversary of the day in 1862 that President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, which effectively ended slavery in the nation’s capitol. This is different than the Emancipation Proclamation which Lincoln signed on January 1, 1863, declaring all slaves free and changing the rhetorical aim of the Civil War from preserving the Union to eradicating slavery.

The 1862 act, which set aside $1 million, immediately emancipated slaves in Washington, D.C., giving Union slaveholders up to $300 per freed slave. Thus the “compensation” in the title. Another $100,000 set aside by the act was used to pay each newly freed slave $100 if he or she chose to leave the United States and emigrate to Haiti or Liberia.

Emancipation Day, a public holiday in the District until 1901 and revived again in 2005, gives employees the day off. If the 16th, like this year, falls on a weekend, however, they get the closest weekday off. Thus, the 15th this year was a holiday and tax day was moved until Monday

Usually, another instance when the deadline could change is if the 15th falls on a weekend. Then the IRS will move the deadline until the following Monday.

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