History of Tax Day

Bill Petro
4 min readApr 15, 2022

This year, in an unprecedented move not seen since last year’s unprecedented move, the Internal Revenue Service has extended the deadline for Federal Income Tax filing for individual tax filers. This year, instead of being due today, April 15, the new deadline for individual tax filers is April 18, but not due to the Coronavirus pandemic!

For those keeping track, and all you accountants do: The April 15th deadline for individual tax returns was extended to July 15 in 2020 and May 15 in 2021.

April 15 this year is a different holiday that supersedes Tax Day. What could delay Tax Day? The Internal Revenue Service offices in the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) will be closed on Friday, April 15, to observe their local Emancipation Day, when slavery was abolished in the District. It was originally signed into law by Abraham Lincoln on April 16, 1862, nine months before the national Emancipation Proclamation.

The Washington D.C. public holiday technically falls on Saturday, April 16, but is observed by the government on the closest weekday when it falls on a weekend.

Congress initially set the filing deadline in March, but it revised the Internal Revenue Code in 1954, moving the deadline to April 15, where it remains.

But wait, if you live in either Massachusetts or Maine, you get an additional day to report your taxes. Patriots’ Day is observed on the third Monday of April in these two New England States. This year that falls on April 18. Because of that holiday, residents of those states have until April 19 to file. April 18 this year is also the running of the Boston Marathon.

Beware the 15th!

It turns out that the 15th of nearly every month is a tax due date — beware the Ides!

  • Partnerships are due March 15.
  • Corporations and individual taxes are (usually) due April 15.
  • Certain foreign taxpayers have their returns due June 15… with the extension for all of those six months later.


  • Quarterly estimated taxes are due in April, June, September, and December for corporations; April, June, September, and January for individuals; and states play by their own rules and have the same due dates at the…
Bill Petro

Writer, technologist, historian. Former Silicon Valley tech exec. Author of fascinating articles on history, tech, pop culture, & travel. https://billpetro.com