Citizens of the country have a civic duty to ensure that the running of the government is able to take place. Any government needs money to operate effectively. Taxes pay for defense, debts, and ensure the common welfare of the country’s citizens. But, do you know what your requirements are? Do you know when the income tax filing deadline is? Those are important questions you need answered in order complete your tax filings successfully each year and avoid having to pay steep tax penalties.
“Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes, former Justice of the United States Supreme Court
History of the Income Tax Filing Date
As early as 186 Americans have been required by law to pay an income tax. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, the sitting President, was finding it difficult to fund the war. That’s when he along with Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861, and the income tax law was first enacted. Originally, Congress instituted a flat 3% rate on taxpayers who earned a minimum of $800. Later, they implemented a graduated tax rate based upon levels of income.
Following the Civil War in 1872, the income tax was repealed for a period of time. But, eventually, it was re-enacted and has gone through many changes since it’s inception.
On July 2, 1909, Congress passed the 16th Amendment to the constitution which was later ratified by the states on February 3, 1913. That’s when the Federal Income Tax became a permanent part of the American civic duty of the citizens.
In 1954, Congress actively worked to overhaul the entire tax system in what became known as the Great Overhaul, at that time the date was again moved. This time it was set to April 15th, and this is where it remains today.
Income Tax Filing Date Requirements
No one enjoys paying taxes! But, who is responsible for paying an income tax and when do you have to get it done?
Anyone working in the United States is required to file a tax statement declaring the amount of income earned, and any tax already paid. And then, they are required to pay any outstanding tax that has not yet been paid. The deadline for such a filing is April the 15th.
If you are unable to file by the deadline, you must file a request for an extension of time by the 15th. The purpose of an extension is to extend the amount of time you have to file and pay any taxes due to the government. If you aren’t able to prepare your personal, or business, financial documentation, you can get an extension. However, you should expect to pay a tax penalty for the extension. And, it doesn’t eliminate the amount you owe. It only prolongs the inevitable and increases the amount owed due to penalties. Thus, it is always best practice to have your documentation ready, and be able to file during the open window for filing.
The Federal Internal Revenue Service sets the time when filings can occur. The window for filing is generally set in late January and extends to midnight on April the 15th. That means during those dates you can file your return. You can file your return digitally, or you can mail it to the IRS. If mailing your return, it must be postmarked by midnight of the deadline. The U.S. Postal Service will often have many branches stay open to accommodate the filing date requirements.
Of course we are here and ready to help you to prepare your tax filing. Contact us today so we can schedule your tax filing on your behalf and help you to get back the maximum amount allowed by law.