What is Emancipation Day?

What is Emancipation Day?

Why do you have a few extra days to file your 2017 return? You may have asked your tax professional and learned it was Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C. What exactly is Emancipation Day?

Emancipation Day is a holiday marking the anniversary of an act of Congress that provided for the emancipation of people held as slaves in the District of Columbia. On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation that abolished slavery in the capital city of the United States. This act freed approximately 3,000 slaves in the District of Columbia. However, slavery did not officially end for the rest of the United States until after the American Civil War, which lasted from 1861 until 1865.

Every April 16th the District Columbia celebrates their legal holiday with a parade, exhibitions, presentation of historic documents, public discussions, laying of wreaths, poetry readings and concerts. These events are scheduled to educate people about the history of the District of Columbia in general and slavery in particular. Also, local government offices are closed and many public services do not operate. This year Emancipation Day is observed by the government on Monday, April 16, hence the extension of this year’s filing deadline until April 17. 

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