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taxes

When Is Tax Day 2017?

A holiday celebrated in Washington, D.C., gives everyone more time to file their taxes this year.

Guess what: If you're looking at the calendar and thinking you missed the tax filing deadline, you didn't! This year, tax day will be April 18, 2017, three days after the traditional April 15 tax deadline.

The cause is a Washington, D.C. holiday called Emancipation Day, which celebrates the end of slavery in the District of Columbia (which actually predated Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation by nine months). It's usually celebrated on April 16, or the closest weekday, in this case, Monday, April 17.

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And since federal law says that tax day must be either the 15th or the first succeeding day that isn't a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, that means the tax deadline this year is April 18.

Now remember — before we go any farther — if you're sure you don't owe money, your tax return is not actually due by April 18. Of course, you want to get your tax refund as soon as possible, but don't get bent out of shape or pay extra for rush filing (or run to the Post Office, if you're old school).

But if you do need to move ahead and make the tax deadline, here's our guidance on filing right. With two days left to get ready, there's no reason to overlook money-saving deductions.

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Consider filing an extension. The penalty for turning in your federal return late is 0.5% of any unpaid tax due for each month or part of a month you're late. But you can put off filing your return — and avoid that penalty — by filing Form 4868, "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return". You'll get an extra six months to submit your return without penalty.

But don't delay paying the tax bill. Any tax you owe is still due by April 18. The IRS also levies interest on unpaid taxes, currently at a rate of 4%, compounded daily.

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