Tuesday, April 18, 2017

leadership dot #1782: extension

Since 1955, the traditional Tax Day (when federal income tax returns are due) has fallen on April 15. This year, due to the weekend and then Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia, taxes are not due until today (April 18).
Yet, even with an additional 3 days (72 hours) to file, the Internal Revenue Service estimates that 13 million people will miss the deadline and need to file an extension.*
People are deadline driven, but wait until very close to that deadline to take action on many things. A quarter of the tax returns will come in during the final week or later.** The week before Christmas is a shopping frenzy. The night before a play/conference/event is always a whirlwind. Many proposals, grants and homework assignments are submitted within hours of the due date.
As the bewitching hour approaches, a three day extension sounds like a magical thing. But when the gift of extra time is built into the deadline -- like with today's Tax Day -- it means nothing. People will use every last second up until the deadline. Acknowledge this fact instead of fighting it. Building in cushion time after the deadline instead of as part of it will make your final minutes less taxing.
*Extensions requested: WHIO.com
** Number of late filers:  Deadline for filing taxes pushed back to Tuesday by the Associated Press in the Telegraph Herald, April 15, 2017, p. 5B

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