April 15

April 12, 2013

This date will always be known for one thing.

Several dates are lucky enough to be associated with specific holidays and/or occasions that always occur on their designated dates regardless of which day of the week they fall. Some of these include January 1 (New Year’s), February 14 (Valentine’s Day), July 4 (Independence Day) and December 25 (Christmas).

Oh, and we must not forget about April 15. Believe it or not many historical events, and perhaps even your own birthday or anniversary, have occurred on this date. However, these are overshadowed by one monumental event: Tax Day.

April 15 – Some memorable events in history:

1738 — First bottle opener invented
1850 — City of San Francisco incorporated
1892 — GE is incorporated in NY
1912 — Titanic sinks
1955 — Ray Kroc starts McDonald’s
1955 — Tax Day moved from March 15
1957 — Saturday mail delivery restored after Congress gives $41M. History really does repeat itself
1964 — World’s longest bridge opens – Chesapeake Bay Bridge
1973 — First Walt Disney Store
1992 — Jay Leno takes over as permanent host of the Tonight Show
1997 — Baseball honors Jackie Robinson by retiring #42 for all teams

There most likely is no other non-holiday date that is so etched in our minds and engages us on so many different levels as April 15. Like Kleenex® is to tissues, April 15 has become the “generic” term for Tax Day and trumps all other events that already have or will occur on this day. And as with any brand, April 15 is associated with a core promise: file your tax returns on time or we promise that you will risk significant penalties from Uncle Sam. With a promise as profound as this why is it that it is estimated that 50% of us still do not pay our taxes?

Tax Day is not an official holiday; government offices, Wall Street, banks and schools are not closed. However, it is one day that most of us acknowledge. It one that does not discriminate based on age, sex, color, race or religion. For all intents and purposes Tax Day means the same for us all.

April 15 has certain expectations. One of which is that the day will always occur on the 15th. In fact, the 15th is so ingrained in our psyche that we have a difficult time accepting any other date as Tax Day. On those rare occasions when the date is moved to accommodate a weekend or a conflict with an “official” holiday, we still believe April 15 to be “the day.” Interestingly enough Tax Day was moved from March 1 (1913) to March 15 (1918) and finally to April 15 (1955) to accommodate the increase in middle class workers. This date change afforded the IRS more time to process the increase in filings and to meet refund demands.

April 15 also has many characteristics. While for many of us it’s a necessary evil, for most it conjures up feelings of anticipation, stress, anxiety, procrastination, anger, fear, denial and intimidation. Even American Greetings and Hallmark have greeting cards targeted to tax-payers and preparers to provide support such as “Don’t forget April 15 is Tax Day,” “Wishing you a Happy Tax Day” or “Thinking of you during this stressful time.” Albeit the selection is minimal compared to other holidays.

This year April 15 falls on a Monday. As with every year, there will be those taxpayers who will wait until the last possible moment to file their returns. After all, why should Uncle Sam have access to our money before the actual deadline? Tax preparers will have worked 24/7 for the last month or two, the post office will extend hours today in anticipation of long wait lines to ensure that Returns are indeed stamped by midnight and taxpayers will express a sigh of relief until Tuesday, April 15, 2014.

Happy Tax Day and may significant refunds be yours!

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