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When Should You File Your Tax Return?

Posted on | February 2, 2010 | 1 Comment

When Should You File Your Tax Return?

It’s a routine affair for millions of US citizens to get ready every year by collecting their records and receipts for filing their federal income tax returns. Do you know when the first tax season got started? Let us have a look at this peculiar day of “April 15th” and see the reason behind it being selected as the tax day.

In the 1860s, under the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, income tax payments became mandatory. The Congress and the President jointly selected the Commissioner of the Revenue and formulated the federal income tax law for funding the expensive Civil War.

Originally, April 15 was not the deadline but March 1, which is when you were supposed to submit all your income taxes by. But in 1918, the date was shifted to March 15 by the Congress. Again in 1954, the tax date was changed and moved to April 15, which is still prevailing and is known as the tax deadline ever since.

Individual taxpayers need to file a return or take an extension of date (Form 4868) by the 15th of April. March 15 is the deadline for the legal or corporate sector for filing their tax return or taking a date extension. What this extension gives you is some extra time for filing the tax return, not for paying the money that you owe.

Post Second World War, for a few years, the whole of the country’s tax responsibility was almost equally divided between the individual and corporate taxpayers. Today, this tax burden seems to be moving away from the corporate, and individuals are getting hard-pressed.

Around 1918, while the income tax laws were formulated in America, an interesting event occurred. Till that time, sale of alcoholic beverages contributed a major portion of revenues for the government funding.

Just at that time, the law of Prohibition came into force. The Constitution was amended in 1919 to prohibit the sale and manufacturing of alcohol in the country. Income tax was proposed as the solution for the revenue lost; and in spite of the abolishment of Prohibition, income tax payments were made compulsory.

With the advent of the “New Deal” age after passing the 1942 Revenue Act, there was continual exponential increase of government expenditures and control, and now the average American taxpayers are supporting the million billion dollar National Debt.

Presently, the IRS is taking care of all sorts of tax regulations in the country; the IRS has got 4 departments or divisions: Large and Mid-size Business, Small Business Self-Employed, Tax Exempt and Government, and Wage and Investment. It is the responsibility of each department to govern the relevant tax laws as well as the taxpayers.


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