Traditionally, each year federal income taxes must be filed with the IRS on or before April 15. The date is synonymous with taxes, so much so that many just refer to 4/15 as “Tax Day”.

However this year, for the third time in seven years, your federal income taxes will not be due April 15. Instead, because of a combination of the calendar, a holiday, and tax law, Tax Day 2012 is delayed until Tuesday, April 17.

So the procrastinators out there will have two extra days to prepare and file their federal income taxes this year.
First, April 15 is a Sunday and all federal offices are closed on Sundays. This means that taxes can’t be filed on April 15, as regularly scheduled. Rather, the tax due date should roll over to the first available business day — Monday.

However, Monday, April 16 is Emancipation Day, a holiday in the District of Columbia since 2005. Emanciption Day honors President Abraham Lincoln’s April 16, 1862 signing of the Compensation Emancipation Act, the freeing of slaves in the district.  All of Washington, D.C. is closed for the local holiday — including the offices of the IRS.  Taxes can’t be due on this date because no one will be working at the Internal Revenue Service to receive them.

Therefore, Tax Day rolls over to the next available business day, and that’s Tuesday, April 17. Despite the 2-day change, as a reminder, the deadline to file a federal tax return with extension has not changed. People who need an extension can submit Form 4868 for a six month extension; that filing date remains October 15, 2012.

The IRS says it is expecting more than 144 million individual tax returns to be filed this year, with most filing by the April 17 deadline.

When filing, homeowners shouldn’t forget the tax deductions for their home, including property and real estate taxes, the mortgage interest on your primary residence, the interest on a HELOC, the premium you paid for private mortgage insurance (only if the policy was issued after 2006), or even any home improvements that were made for medical care.

Most states have chosen to mirror the IRS’ tax deadlines this year even though Emancipation Day is a Washington, D.C-specific holiday.  Just to be on the safe side, be sure to check with your accountant to confirm your local filing deadline.