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Tax filing deadline: IRS moves it to April 17

Tax filing Americans get a two-day reprieve because of quirks in the calendar. A Washington, D.C., holiday extends tax filing season to April 17.

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A woman uses a drive-in mail box to drop in her income tax return in 2010 in Los Angeles. In 2012, the deadline for tax filing is April 17.

Damian Dovarganes/AP/File

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Does the mere mention of April 15 send chills up your spine? Not to worry — the Internal Revenue Service has postponed this year's federal tax filing deadline until two days later.

The IRS said Wednesday that taxpayers will have until April 17 to file their 2011 returns, thanks to two quirks of the calendar.

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April 15 falls on a Sunday this year, and the following day is Emancipation Day, which is observed in the District of Columbia. By federal law, District of Columbia holidays affect tax deadlines the same way federal holidays do, giving taxpayers an extra day.

People requesting an extension will have until Oct. 15 to file.

The IRS says it is expecting more than 144 million individual tax returns to be filed this year.