Monday, April 15, 2013

Tax Day today

(April 15, 2013) Today, Monday, April 15, is the annual deadline to file income tax returns to both the state and the federal governments. Mailed returns must be postmarked by midnight. To file later without penalty, an official extension is required.

Many United States residents mark Tax Day as the day to file their income tax details to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The date is usually on or around April 15. However, this deadline may be extended to accommodate holidays or extreme weather conditions. For those filing a U.S. tax return but living outside the United States and Puerto Rico, Tax Day typically has fallen on June 15, due to the two-month automatic extension granted to filers by IRS Publication 54.

A large proportion of U.S. residents have to inform the IRS of all income they received in the previous fiscal year. Some groups, particularly veterans, pensioners and some low-income families, do not have to file a tax return unless they wish to qualify for certain types of income subsidy. Others may wait until the last moment to file their tax return and pay any money they owe. Some people may find that filing a tax return is complicated, while others may feel that they should not have to pay income tax. In the United States, income tax returns may be filed on paper or electronically. Now, people are encouraged to file a return via Internet as this is efficient and reduces the risk of mistakes being made or documents being lost in the post.

Tax Day is not a federal public holiday in the United States. Schools, post offices, stores and other businesses and organizations are open as usual. Public transport services run to their usual schedules and no extra congestion on highways is to be expected.

Income tax was introduced in the United States in 1861. A rate of 3 percent was levied on incomes above $800 per year and the resulting revenue was used to help fund the American Civil War effort. However, income tax was seen as unconstitutional and the law was repealed in 1872. The idea of a tax on personal income, at a rate of 2 percent, was reintroduced in the Revenue Act of 1894, but the legal status of this kind of tax was still unclear. In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. This cleared the way for the modern income tax system in this country.

The details of the income tax system have changed greatly since 1913. The top rates of tax have varied enormously and were particularly high during World War I and II and the Great Depression. Individuals and families with very low levels of income do not have to pay income tax and may receive some subsidy via the tax system.

In 1913 Tax Day, or the filing deadline, was fixed on March 1. However, it was moved to March 15 in 1918 and to April 15 in 1955, where it has remained since then. If April 15 falls on a Saturday, Sunday or a civil holiday, the deadline is extended to the next working day. An extension due to a holiday may affect only certain states. In 2007, the residents of some states were granted an extension due to the disruption to public life in many areas caused by a huge Nor'easter storm. In some years the observance of Emancipation Day (April 16) in Washington, D.C., may be the reason to extend the national deadline. In 2007, that observance on Monday had the effect of extending the deadline to Tuesday, April 17.

Keep abreast of important dates and more by reading Recorder Community Newspapers and their blogs online at Anyone interested in joining the growing group of Recorder bloggers is invited to call me at (908) 832-7420 or e-mail me at to find out about blogging, a free, simple communication tool.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Opening day

(April 6, 2013) Today is opening day for spring trout fishing in New Jersey. And what a perfect cool, clear spring day it is for angling. Beginning at 8 a.m. many area lakes and streams are open for fishermen. To fish for trout, a valid annual N.J. fishing license and trout stamp are required for residents between 16 and 70 plus non-residents 16 or older. Others may fish for free.

Last month the State of New Jersey's Fish and Wildlife division began augmenting trout populations with regular stocking of hatchery grown fish. In some streams and lakes these are net stocked (scooped out a tank truck and lowered to the water using hand nets) and float stocked (dispersed around the lake by boat). In other places tank trucks are simply driven to the shoreline where trout are dumped into the lake or stream.
Stocking consists mostly of brown and brook trout, although other species of trout, such as rainbow, lake trout, and other more exotic types are found in some waters.

These stockings often leave fish circulating close to the place in which they are put. In some cases the fish are dumped at convenient boat launch ramps or near docks or bridges. This improves the odds of catching trout in places that are easily accessible.

The stocking trucks from Pequest Trout Hatchery in Oxford began rolling on March 18 as the spring pre-season distribution of this year's trout got under way. By year's end, about 600,000 trout will be stocked throughout the state. The "production trout" average 10.5" but were kept company prior to opening day by some of the more than 6,000 three- to eight-pound breeder trout which also are being stocked. This spring, trout will be placed in 88 streams and 90 ponds and lakes throughout New Jersey. Those trout will be in addition to some of the 26,000 bruisers still in the water from stockings in the fall and winter. Fortunately for the state's anglers, trout remain available throughout the summer in many waters.

For more information, check out the N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife website at It lists waters stocked with trout and when the stockings take place throughout the season. The site also carries a host of other fishing news and information, including a complete recital of rules and regulations. Fishing enthusiasts even can purchase licenses on line. Those under 16 and resident senior citizens over 69 do not need a license.