Today, April 18, 2017, is the deadline for filing (and paying!) your taxes for 2016 income. If you thought it was April 15 (the traditional day), you’re likely done already and ahead of the game. If not then you can take advantage of the later date thanks to a fortuitous weekend and the Emancipation Day holiday falling on Monday April 17, which makes that day a holiday in the District of Columbia.
Emancipation day celebrations take place around the world on different dates, all of which commemorate the abolishment of some type of slavery. According to Wikipedia, here’s the scoop on this particular instance:
The District of Columbia celebrates April 16 as Emancipation Day. On that day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act (an act of Compensated emancipation) for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia. The Act freed about 3,100 slaves in the District of Columbia nine months before President Lincoln issued his broader Emancipation Proclamation. The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act represents the only example of compensation by the federal government to former owners of emancipated slaves.
On January 4, 2005, Mayor Anthony A. Williams signed legislation making Emancipation Day an official public holiday in the District. Although Emancipation Day occurs on April 16, by law when April 16 falls during a weekend, Emancipation Day is observed on the nearest weekday. This affects the Internal Revenue Service’s due date for tax returns…
Small Business Taxes
There is some poetic justice in a day celebrating the abolishment of unpaid slave labor delaying the due date for tax payments. But taking loosely from the famous saying: while you may delay taxes, like death they eventually must come due; and unlike death you must pay your toll upfront even if you postpone the actual day of reckoning.
If you haven’t yet filed your personal and/or small business taxes –and you’re reading this instead of madly rushing to your accountant or attempting to file online by midnight– any tax advice this post could provide is probably far too late to do you any good. (But, please do file for an extension if you need it. See this IRS page for forms and instructions.)
Instead, here are some interesting tax stats and facts that will both help you plan for future years and also reinforce that in your tax burdens you’re not alone:
The Internal Revenue Service 2016 Data Book will tell you everything you ever wanted to know (and a bunch you didn’t) about tax year 2015. For example:
- The IRS collected more than $3.3 trillion in gross taxes and issued more than 122.3 million refunds totaling more than $426.1 billion.
- The IRS collected almost $345.6 billion in income taxes from businesses, before refunds.
- The IRS audited 0.7 percent of all individual income tax returns filed, and 1.1 percent of corporation income tax returns (excluding S corporation returns)
- The IRS identified 2.1 million math errors in tax returns, 36.2% of which were math errors associated with calculation of income or other taxes.
- 37,000 of 1.2 million audits resulted in additional refunds to taxpayers totaling over $6.5 billion.
(NOTE: That’s a great example of data framing. It sounds far more positive than simply stating that only 3% of audits resulted in refunds, or that 97% of audits resulted in additional payments due.)
Kiplinger Magazine has a number of useful and entertaining tax posts. Check out the following on business tax deductions and audits:
- Self-Employed? Avoid These Audit Red Flags on Your Tax Return highlights things like filing a Schedule C, having too much or not enough business income, and taking home office and/or business vehicle deductions, that may make your return stand-out as audit material.
- Concerned about your audit risk? Answer two questions and this tool will provide your odds of being audited, and let you know if they are above or below average. To learn more read the full article: What Are the Odds the IRS Will Audit Your Tax Return? And What Should You Do If It Does?
- 17 Tax Breaks You Won’t Believe Are Real provides actual tax ruling examples for when buying cat food, body oil, and beer are deductible, as well as other unusual stories of counterintuitively allowable expenses.
- Tax Deductions: Can You Tell If These Are Legit? This 10 question quiz lets you try your tax knowledge, and provides detailed explanations for each example.
Had enough of taxes? Ready for a snack? Then you’ll be happy to know that today is also National Animal Crackers Day. While the origin of the day has not been pinpointed, it celebrates the animal shaped crackers first imported to the US from England in the late 1800s, and re-branded as “Barnum’s Animals” (for the circus) in 1902 with the string added to the box that Christmas so that it could be hung from the tree.
Other fun facts about Animal Crackers are provided in this MobileCuisine.com post. For example, did you know that:
- There have been 54 different kinds of animals in animal crackers since 1902.
- The only animals to make it into each and every box of Animals Crackers are bears, elephants, lions and tigers.
- For the cracker’s 100th anniversary, the public was surveyed to select an animal to add to the mix. The choices were: koala bear, penguin, walrus or cobra. The koala bear won with the cobra coming in last place.
- The current crackers are tiger, cougar, camel, rhinoceros, kangaroo, hippopotamus, bison, lion, hyena, zebra, elephant, sheep, bear, gorilla, monkey, seal and giraffe.
Join the celebration and post your animal cracker pics, tips, and quips at #NationalAnimalCrackersDay.
And to really take your mind off taxes, watch this classic clip from the Marx Brothers 1930 film Animal Crackers:
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