Emancipation Day in District of Columbia in 2025

Emancipation Day in District of Columbia in 2025
  How long until Emancipation Day?
Emancipation Day
  Dates of Emancipation Day in District of Columbia
2025 Wed, Apr 16Government Holiday
2024 Tue, Apr 16Government Holiday
2023 Mon, Apr 17Government Holiday
2022 Fri, Apr 15Government Holiday
2021 Fri, Apr 16Government Holiday

Washington DC Only. Weekday closest to April 16th. marks the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia

Related holidays

When is Emancipation Day?

Emancipation Day is a regional government holiday observed in Washington D.C., USA.

Emancipation Day is celebrated on the weekday nearest April 16th.

History of Emancipation Day

Emancipation Day marks April 16th 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act.

The Act freed over 3,000 slaves in the District of Columbia eight months before President Lincoln issued his broader Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War. The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act means the District has the distinction of being the only part of the United States to have compensated slave owners for freeing enslaved persons they held.

It has been an official public holiday in the District since 2005.

A Taxing Holiday

The holiday is notable beyond Washington as the date can affect the Internal Revenue Service's due date for tax returns for all Americans. The deadline is usually April 15th. If April 16th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the federal and all state tax deadlines are moved to April 18th. If Emancipation Day falls on a Monday, the deadline is April 17th.

It is often said there are only two certainties in life - death and taxes. That may be true but the deadline for the latter hasn't always been a certainty. In February 1913, the 16th Amendment gave Congress the legal authority to tax the income of the people, establishing the individual income tax. The original deadline was March 1st. It was changed to March 15th in 1918 and was only changed to the current date of April 15th in 1955.

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