THE TAX ATTIC with Jerry Coon

Emancipation Day extends tax deadline

Jerry Coon

This is always one of the more enjoyable articles that I write. The tax season has just ended. That sentence says it all for people like me, who make a living in the world of preparing tax returns. We all get a chance to take a deep breath and see exactly what has happened in the surrounding world in the last three-and-one-half months.

While it’s true that Action Tax Service does more than prepare tax returns, a good percentage of our business for the year occurs in the period of January 1 through April 17. We did get three bonus days this year. First, it was a leap year so we received February 29 as our first extra day. Second, April 15 fell on Sunday so that was our second extra day. Finally, our third extra day occurred because April 16 is Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C. Since the IRS’ national headquarters is located in Washington, D.C., they are closed. And if they are closed, all IRS offices are closed.

Emancipation Day occurred on April 16, 1862. It’s easy to confuse Emancipation Proclamation Day with D.C.’s Emancipation Day. President Lincoln issued an Executive Order, the Emancipation Proclamation, on September 22, 1861. Throughout history, it appears that many presidents have issued controversial Executive Orders and not just presidents Bush and Obama. Lincoln ordered the 10 states of the Confederacy to cease rebelling by January 1, 1863 or their slaves would be set free. Of course, they didn’t quit rebelling for another two years or so, but their slaves were technically set free on January 1, 1863. However, on April 16, 1862, slaves in D.C. were set free. Actually, their owners were paid the value of the slaves in exchange for their freedom.

Lincoln’s Proclamation, by contrast, did not provide compensation to the owners of the slaves, it didn’t outlaw slavery, and it didn’t make the ex-slaves citizens of the USA. Those items did not occur until the 13th Constitutional Amendment was passed in December, 1865. It seems that in 1862, Washington, D.C. was on the cutting edge of things. We might even go as far as to say they were progressive back then.

When we look at Washington today, another word, gridlock, comes to mind. I’m not sure either the Emancipation Proclamation or Emancipation Day would have made it through the system today.

My day of freedom this year is April 17. I have a routine and do some of the same things every year. First, I don’t get up at 6 a.m. I sleep in just a little. Second, I have a cup of coffee and add a little touch of Kahlua to it. I drink coffee every day, but a little touch of Kahlua is special.

Third, I buy a fishing license. Michigan’s fishing licenses all expire on March 31, so before I get in the Rogue River, I make sure I’m legal. This year, I will probably check out the new fishing shop, the Hex Shop Fly Fishing Outfitters that opened in O’s old location downtown.

Fourth, I either hit a bucket of golf balls or play nine holes just to loosen up the golf swing. My friends have quite a head start on me this year.

Next, if there is time, I mow the lawn. That might be a requirement this year in that the grass is really growing.

Just like everybody, my projects go from completing tax returns to completing projects around the house. I’m sure my wife, Deb, has quite a lengthy list this year.

Just a reminder, however, that Action Tax Service is open daily until the next tax season rolls around to service the approximately 20 percent or all taxpayers who filed an extension this year. Give us a call. We can help, but only until 4:30 instead of the 8:00 p.m. that we are there during the tax season. This is Jerry Coon signing off and getting ready to read Deb’s list.


Jerry Coon is an Enrolled Agent. He owns Action Tax Service on Northland Drive in Rockford. Contact Jerry at 

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