The tax benefits that Southeast Michigan homeowners
experience come into sharp focus on days like Monday. The nominal Tax Day—April
15—fell on Friday of last week, so Southeast Michigan taxpayers who had labored
long into the night last Thursday might have been surprised to learn on Friday
that their Federal Income Tax returns were not due until after the
weekend. The reason was not to give John Q. Public an extra weekend to
gather the paystubs, canceled checks, and receipts—it was, more or less, to
provide Federal workers an extra day off.
Washington, D.C. is the only place in the country
whose residents observe April 16 as a legal holiday—“Emancipation Day.” April
16, 1862, was the date that Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation
Act, which freed 3,000 slaves in the District. National emancipation didn’t
happen until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.
Even given the D.C.
holiday, Southeast Michigan taxpayers may wonder why Friday, April 15, was
nixed as Tax Day since April 16 fell on Saturday. The unofficial reason is that
the Federal workers were given the day off on Friday because when Federal
holidays fall on a weekend, the day to observe it is moved to a nearby workday:
Friday this year. To have allowed the observance to fall on a weekend would
have bilked the Washington, D.C. federal workers out of a day off. They might have
felt put upon.
Even Southeast Michigan
taxpayers who heard the explanation may not have eluded the traditional raising
of blood pressure that goes with deciphering tax forms. On the other hand, for
taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts, because their states’ “Patriots Day”
holiday always falls on the third Monday in April, their returns weren’t
due until Tuesday, which might leave their blood pressures relatively undisturbed
on Monday. But for Southeast Michigan taxpayers who are thinking that an extra
Michigan holiday should be declared if for no better reason than to keep pace
with the other states, no proposal has yet appeared. The tax advantages
afforded by their Southeast Michigan real estate holdings will have to suffice
for the foreseeable future. For taxpayers who have yet to take advantage of those,