Tax deadline may not be when you think

Published 5:26 pm Thursday, April 14, 2016

Hard at work: Charlie Burnett of Burnett’s Income Tax Service said he handles 1,000 to 1,500 tax returns a year on average. (Photo by Stephen Dawkins)

Hard at work: Charlie Burnett of Burnett’s Income Tax Service said he handles 1,000 to 1,500 tax returns a year on average. (Photo by Stephen Dawkins)

Charlie Burnett can breathe a sigh of relief after the deadline for individuals to file their federal income tax.

Burnett, of Burnett’s Income Tax Service in Clanton, said he helps between 1,000 and 1,500 clients a year out of his office attached to his home.

Larger companies, such as H&R Block, surely see many times that number of customers, split among their employees.

“I stay busy,” Burnett said. “I do 20-25 a day.”

That tiresome schedule will cease once the deadline passes, but many residents may not know that the deadline to file is April 18 this year.

The deadline is typically April 15, except for years when that date falls on weekend and the deadline is pushed back to the following Monday.

April 15 is a Friday this year, but the deadline has been moved back because of Emancipation Day.

Emancipation Day is celebrated in many former British colonies in the United States and the Caribbean in observance of the emancipation of African slaves.

Though Emancipation Day is celebrated on various days (May 8 in Mississippi, May 20 in Florida, June 19 in Texas, Aug. 8 in Kentucky and July 3 in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as examples), the holiday can affect the Internal Revenue Service’s due dates for tax returns because of its celebration date in the District of Columbia.

Emancipation Day is celebrated on April 16 in Washington, D.C., but when that date falls on a weekend, the holiday is observed on the closest weekday.

So since April 16 is Saturday, Emancipation Day in D.C. is Friday, April 15. And since that would be the IRS’s due date, the tax deadline is moved to Monday, April 18.

If you got all that, you may be ready to start preparing your own taxes.

Burnett said he’s seen confusion about other issues this year.

The Affordable Care Act calls for residents to fill out a special form, 1095-A, related to health insurance.

“People don’t understand that,” Burnett said. “They’ll come to see me but then have to go back and figure out about that form.”

Even worse, taxes can be filed without the form, but in this case, the IRS may freeze a potential refund.

Burnett has seen many such changes in his years in the business. Burnett’s Income Tax Service opened in 1976, and Burnett took over when his father, Clarence, passed away in 2000.

Charlie Burnett said his business is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday during tax season, and he tries not to work too much outside those hours.

“You have to get a little bit of sleep and rest,” he said.

With many people possibly thinking Friday is the deadline, Burnett said he hopes Monday will not be as busy as a typical deadline day.

However it turns out, he is sure about one thing.

“I’ll be glad when it’s Tuesday,” Burnett said.