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Good News For Procrastinators: Tax Day Is Later This Year

Good news if you’re scrambling to make the April 15 income tax filing deadline. Thanks to a little known federal holiday only celebrated in the nation’s capital, you have a slight extension.

Bill Brunson with the IRS says, "Submitting a return on April 15 is bumped by this Emancipation Day Celebration to the next business day. And the next business day would be Monday, April 18."

Since 1862, Emancipation Day has marked the end of slavery in Washington D.C.

Still need more time? The IRS makes it fairly easy to get an extension. So if you are running a bit late this year, here are a few things to know:

  • DON'T PANIC: Seriously. Taxpayers who need more time to complete their return can easily request an automatic six-month extension from the IRS. Don't get too excited, though: An extension provides more time to file a tax return, but no extra time to pay what you owe.
  • FREE FILE: The IRS says the fastest and easiest option is through the "Free File" link on its website at IRS.gov. Anyone, regardless of income, can use this free service to electronically request an extension by completing Form 4868. This gives taxpayers until Oct. 17 to file a return. To get the extension, taxpayers must estimate their tax liability and pay any amount due.
  • ELECTRONIC PAYMENT: Another option is to make an electronic payment, such as through IRS Direct Pay, and select Form 4868 to indicate it is for an extension. Payments can also be made through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or paying by credit or debit card online or by phone.
  • AUTOMATIC EXTENSION: Some taxpayers get more time to file returns without having to ask for an extension. This includes taxpayers who live and work abroad, military on duty outside the U.S.; those serving in combat zones and people in areas affected by natural disasters.

Whatever method you chose, the IRS reminds taxpayers to file their return even if they cannot pay the full amount. By filing either a regular return or requesting an extension, they will avoid the late-filing penalty, which can be ten times as costly as the penalty for not paying.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.