RICHMOND, Va. -- The deadline for federal tax filing is in desperate need of a rabbit’s foot. That’s right . . . April 15 - when President Lincoln died of an assassin’s bullet. When the unsinkable Titanic sank, taking 1500 poor souls with her – two-thirds of those onboard. It’s also the date of the Boston Marathon bombing. And the date that so many of us dread like some kind of recurring horror movie.
Yes, that’s right. I’m a last-minute filer, joining the others at Richmond’s main post office on Brook Road as the sun goes went down on another April 15.
It’s so unlucky the US flag at the main post office was at half-staff for a while, but then it went right back up again. (President Obama ordered government flags lowered in honor of Lincoln’s death.) While out there, we met some cool people. One guy, Eddie Harris, was busy protesting with his sandwich board sign. He knew about the origins of federal taxation, which has its hungry roots in the Civil War.
President Grover Cleveland gave it a shot, but the U.S. Supreme Court pointed out that it was unconstitutional.
When the 16th amendment made it possible for Uncle Sam to tax us in 1913, March 1 was picked as the collection day. Five years later, it was moved to March 15, perhaps to help spread out the massive collection workload. When the tax code was overhauled 60 years ago, April 15 became the new date.
Some believe that gives Uncle Sam one extra month to hold onto the cash money of all those folks who dutifully over-pay their automatic deductions and are due a tax refund. Therefore, it appears April 15 is pretty lucky after all, at least for Uncle Sam.
But a rabbit’s foot wouldn’t hurt.