Tax Day falls on April 18 , and it is the last day for people in the United States to declare their income tax details with the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS.
The day usually falls on April 15. However, since it falls on a weekend this year and the following Monday is Emancipation Day, the date has been extended to April 18.
This day has been the deadline for filing tax returns since 1955, and it has only been extended a few times due to extenuating circumstances or when it coincided with holidays.
Tax Day is not a federal holiday in the United States so businesses run on normal working hours.
Taxes in America
Taxes were first instated in the United States by the Revenue Act of 1861, which declared that households with annual incomes of $800 or more would pay a 3% tax on their income. The profits from these taxes were put towards helping the costs of the American Civil War.
Although this was successful in helping the war efforts, taxes proved to be wildly unpopular with people, mainly because they were not divided equally between all the states. Thus, taxes were deemed unconstitutional and repealed in 1872.
Another Revenue Act was introduced in 1894, this time with a 2% tax on income. However, the law was still unclear for many, and people did not understand why the government should take money from citizens' personal income.
In 1913, the sixteenth amendment to the Constitution allowed Congress to tax all personal income without regard to the apportionment required. This was the basis for the current tax system in place.
The tax system has had some changes over the years, mainly regarding the top tax rates which have varied a lot. It was especially high during the two World Wars and the Great Depression in order to fund efforts to bring the country back to economic prosperity.
The tax returns date was established as March 1st in 1913, it subsequently changed in 1918 to March 15, and in 1955 it was set as April 15, as it remains today. If the date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Holiday, the returns are due on the next business day.
Nowadays, people with lower incomes don't pay taxes and receive benefits from the government. Those on the upper income bracket pay less tax today than ever before, even though they earn more money.
How it works
April 15 at midnight is the last day for people to declare all of their income from the previous fiscal or financial year. People who fail to file their taxes before this deadline can incur big fines.
Taxes can be filed on paper or electronically. Although, for efficiency purposes, the government encourages people to use the online forms to do it.
People who file their taxes in the US but live in other countries or Puerto Rico have an extended deadline for declaring their income tax, which is usually until June 15.