(b)lines Ask the Experts – What IRS Holidays Would Allow for Extensions?

December 5, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR (b)lines) – “In this the holiday season, I was thinking about the holidays during the year that would essentially provide me with a one-day extension if a certain filing form for my 403(b) plan was due on that date.

“However, I have no idea what the IRS/DoL considers to be a holiday. Would it be similar to the holidays that most businesses observe or different?”  

Michael A. Webb, Vice President, Retirement Practice, Cammack LaRhette Consulting, answers:  

The federal 2012 Holiday schedule, which can be found at http://www.irs.gov/publications/p509/ar01.html#en_US_2011_publink100034234, is quite traditional, with one notable exception that is probably quite obvious  from the list below:   

  • January 2— New Year’s Day  
  • January 16— Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.  
  • February 20— Washington’s Birthday  
  • April 16— District of Columbia Emancipation Day  
  • May 28— Memorial Day  
  • July 4— Independence Day  
  • September 3— Labor Day  
  • October 8— Columbus Day  
  • November 12— Veterans’ Day  
  • November 22— Thanksgiving Day  
  • December 25— Christmas Day  


What in the world, you may ask, is District of Columbia Emancipation Day? Well, it is the date in 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln freed persons who were slaves in the District of Columbia (for you history buffs, this was a full nine months before Lincoln signed the broader Emancipation Proclamation!) But the Experts digress… Though this is only a official Holiday in Washington, DC., it is observed for filing purposes as is if it were a federal Holiday.    

That is the reason why, in 2011, individual tax filers received a bit of a respite as their standard filing deadline was delayed to April 18th; since April 16th fell on a Saturday, April 15th was the observed Holiday, which meant that filers did not need to file their returns until the next business day, which was Monday, April 18th. Similarly, the individual tax filing deadline will be extended to April 17th, 2012 for 2011 returns, since April 15th falls on a Sunday and Monday, April 16th is Emancipation Day.    

It should also be noted that state holidays that are NOT federal Holidays (Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts comes to mind) can delay filing deadlines as well, but only if the federal office in which a plan sponsor is required to file is located in that state (unlikely for  any 403(b)-related filings).  


NOTE: This feature is to provide general information only, does not constitute legal advice, and cannot be used or substituted for legal or tax advice.