April 15 is the traditional due date for federal income taxes. It’s a deadline so ingrained in the American psyche that the April 15 calendar date is often called, simply, “Tax Day”.
In 2011, however, federal taxes aren’t due April 15. They’re due April 18. It’s because of a combination of holiday, calendars, and tax law.
The change centers on Emancipation Day.
Emancipation Day is a public celebration in the District of Columbia. Named a holiday in 2005, Emancipation Day honors President Abraham Lincoln’s April 16, 1862 signing of the Compensation Emancipation Act.
Emancipation Day is a non-working day in the nation’s capitol but, this year, Emancipation Day falls on a Saturday. The municipality will observe the holiday Friday instead. This means that all of Washington, D.C. will be “closed” Friday, April 15 — the usual tax filing deadline date.
This includes the IRS.
Therefore, to accommodate Emancipation Day, the government is extending this year’s federal tax filing deadline to April 18, 2011. This year marks the second time Emancipation Day has forced the change of federal tax filing deadlines.
Also, as a non-related coincidence, tax filers in Ohio taking extensions to October 15 will also get a few extra days. October 15 is a Saturday so the extended tax deadline rolls over to the following Monday — October 17, 2011.
Looking for an extra 2010 tax deduction? Consider making your January mortgage payment a few days early.
It’s a simple strategy that works because of how mortgage interest works.
Unlike rent which is paid in advance at the start of a month, mortgage interest is only paid after it’s been borrowed. Your January mortgage payment, therefore, accounts for the interest that accrued in December.
And for a lot of Mason homeowners, that mortgage interest is tax-deductible.
By making January’s mortgage payment in December, eligible homeowners can apply the interest paid to 2010’s tax returns instead of waiting to claim the same deduction against 2011. Don’t cut it close, though. It’s best to remit payment prior to the last week of the month, leaving your servicer ample time to receive and process your paperwork.
Most importantly, though, before prepaying on your mortgage, talk to your tax professional.
Not every homeowner is eligible for mortgage interest tax deductions, nor should every homeowner itemize their respective tax deductions. The “pay early” plan could be a wasted effort for you, ultimately, depending on your taxpayer profile.
If you don’t have an accountant that you trust, call or email me anytime; I’m happy to make a recommendation to you.