It’s April 18: Have You Filed Yet?

April 18, 2011

Like many fine procrastinating Americans, I made a trip this morning to the post office to mail my tax returns.


Tax returns are due on Monday by midnight. The deadline — usually that fateful date of April 15 — was pushed off for three days this year thanks to the District of Columbia.

On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Emancipation Act, which ended slavery there.

Lincoln would not sign the Emancipation Proclamation, the big one that freed those living in Confederate states, for another eight-and-a-half months.

April 16 was designated an official holiday in 2005. Because that was a Saturday this year, it was observed on April 15. According to the IRS, when April 15 conflicts with a holiday in Washington, D.C., federal law pushes the deadline to the next business day.

And that’s why we got three extra days.

Many Chicago restaurants and businesses are offering specials today for their income-tax-filing customers. Here are some of the free ones:

*Office Depot: Take your tax return to a participating store and you can print up to 25 pages of free copies today.

*Cinnabon: This yummy establishment is offering two free Classic Cinnabon Bites from 6 to 8 p.m., April 18, as part of its “Tax Day Bites” celebration.

*Bally Total Fitness: Go work-off your tax frustration at Bally’s, where non-members can workout for free today and members can take advantage of free personal training.

*Cable: Some satellite and cable providers (not Comcast or RCN, though) are providing free HBO and Cinemax for the day.

Many post offices will remain open until midnight to accommodate the true procrastinators among us, though lots of tax filers never visited a post office at all. The IRS has reported that more than 83 million tax payers e-filed their returns this year. That’s an 8 percent increase from last year.

And, if you just can’t get it together, you can file for an extension by midnight on April 18 by submitting Form 4868.

Happy Tax Day!

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