Tax year

A fiscal year (or financial year, or sometimes budget year) is a period used for calculating annual ("yearly") financial statements in businesses and other organizations. In many jurisdictions, regulatory laws regarding accounting and taxation require such reports once per twelve months, but do not require that the period reported on constitutes a calendar year (that is, 1 January to 31 December). Fiscal years vary between businesses and countries. The "fiscal year" may also refer to the year used for income tax reporting.

Some companies choose to end their fiscal year on the same day of the week, such day being the one closest to a particular date (for example, the Friday closest to 31 December). Under such a system, some fiscal years will have 52 weeks and others 53 weeks. Major corporations that adopt this approach include Cisco Systems.[1]

In the United Kingdom, a number of major corporations that were once government owned, such as BT Group and the National Grid, continue to use the government's financial year, which ends on the last day of March, as they have found no reason to change since privatisation.

Nevertheless, the fiscal year is identical to the calendar year for about 65% of publicly traded companies in the United States and for a majority of large corporations in the UK[2] and elsewhere (with notable exceptions Australia, New Zealand and Japan).[3]

Many universities have a fiscal year which ends during the summer, both to align the fiscal year with the school year (and, in some cases involving public universities, with the state government's fiscal year), and because the school is normally less busy during the summer months. In the Northern hemisphere this is July in one year to June in the next year. In the southern hemisphere this is January to December of a single calendar year.

Some media/communication based organizations use a broadcast calendar as the basis for their fiscal year.

Operation in various countries/region

In some jurisdictions, particularly those that permit tax consolidation, companies that are part of a group of businesses must use nearly the same fiscal year (differences of up to three months are permitted in some jurisdictions, such as the U.S. and Japan), with consolidating entries to adjust for transactions between units with different fiscal years, so the same resources will not be counted more than once or not at all.

Australia

In Australia, the fiscal year starts on 1 July and ends on 30 June. For personal income tax after the financial year ends, individuals have until 31 October to lodge their return (unless they use a tax agent).[4]

Colombia

In Colombia, the fiscal year starts 1 January ending in 31 December. Yearly taxes are due in the middle of March/April for Corporations while citizens pay income tax (when needed) starting in August, ending in September, according to the last 2 digits of the national ID.

Costa Rica

The fiscal year in Costa Rica spans from 1 October until 30 September. Taxpayers are required to pay the tributes before 15 December of each year.

Canada

In Canada,[5] the government's financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March (Example 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014 for the current financial year).

For individuals in Canada, the fiscal year runs from 1 January to 31 December.

China

The fiscal year for all entities starts on 1 January and ends 31 December, consistent with the calendar year, to match the tax year, statutory year, and planning year.

Egypt

In the Arab Republic of Egypt, the fiscal year starts on 1 July and concludes on 30 June.

France

The fiscal year matches the calendar year, and has since at least 1911.[6]

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong,[7] the government's financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March (Example 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014 for the current financial year).

India

In India, the government's financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March. Example: 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014 for the financial year 2013–14.[8][9]

Companies following the Indian Depositary Receipts (IDR) are given freedom to chose their financial year. For example, Standard Chartered's IDR follows the UK calendar despite being listed in India.

Ireland

Ireland also used the year ending 5 April until 2001 when it was changed, at the request of Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy, to match the calendar year (the 2001 tax year was nine months, from April to December)

Since 2002, it is aligned with the calendar year i.e., 1 January to 31 December.

Italy

In Italy the fiscal year is the same as the calendar year.

Japan

In Japan,[10] the government's financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March. The fiscal year is represented by the calendar year in which the period begins followed by the word nendo (年度); for example the fiscal year from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011 is called 2010–nendo.

Japan's income tax year runs from 1 January to 31 December, but corporate tax is charged according to the corporation's own annual period.

Mexico

In Mexico the fiscal year is the same as the calendar year.

Myanmar/Burma

In Myanmar,[11] the fiscal year goes from 1 April to 31 March.

New Zealand

The New Zealand Government's fiscal[12] and financial reporting[13] year begins on 1 July and concludes on 30 June[14] of the following year and applies to the budget. The company and personal financial year[15] begins on 1 April and finishes on 31 March and applies to company and personal income tax.

Pakistan

The Pakistan Government's fiscal year starts on 1 July of the previous calendar year and concludes on 30 June. Private companies are free to observe their own accounting year, which may not be the same as Government of Pakistan's fiscal year.

Russia

The fiscal year matches the calendar year, and has since at least 1911.[6]

Singapore

The fiscal year for the calculation of personal income taxes runs from 1 January to 31 December.

The fiscal year for the Government of Singapore and many government-linked corporations runs from 1 April to 31 March.

Corporations and organisations are permitted to select any date to mark the end of each fiscal year, as long as this date remains constant.

South Africa

In South Africa the fiscal year for the Government of South Africa starts on 1 April and ends 31 March.

The year of assessment for individuals covers twelve months, beginning on 1 March and ending on the final day of February the following year. The Act also provides for certain classes of taxpayers to have a year of assessment ending on a day other than the last day of February. Companies are permitted to have a tax year ending on a date that coincides with their financial year. Many older companies still use a tax year that runs from 1 July to 30 June, inherited from the British system. A common practice for newer companies is to run their tax year from 1 March to the final day of February following, to synchronize with the tax year for individuals.

Spain

In Spain the fiscal year starts on 1 January and ends 31 December.

Sweden

The fiscal year for individuals runs from 1 January to 31 December.

The fiscal year for an organisation is typically one of the following (cf. Swedish World Heritage Encyclopedia):

  • 1 January to 31 December
  • 1 May to 30 April
  • 1 July to 30 June
  • 1 September to 31 August

If an organisation wishes to use any other period, the organisation has to ask the tax authorities for permission.

Taiwan

Under the Income Tax Act of Taiwan, the fiscal year commences on 1 January and ends on 31 December of each calendar year. However, an enterprise may elect to adopt a special fiscal year at the time it is established and can request approval from the tax authorities to change its fiscal year.[16]

Thailand

Thai government's fiscal year begins on 1 October of the previous calendar year and ends on 30 September of the next year.

United Arab Emirates

In the United Arab Emirates, the fiscal year starts on 1 January and ends 31 December.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom,[17] the financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March for the purposes of corporation tax[18] and government financial statements.[19] For the self employed and other who pay personal tax the fiscal year starts on 6 April an ends on 5 April of the next calendar year.[20]

Although United Kingdom corporation tax is charged by reference to the government's financial year, companies can adopt any year as their accounting year: if there is a change in tax rate, the taxable profit is apportioned to financial years on a time basis.

The 5 April year end for personal tax and benefits reflects the old ecclesiastical calendar, with New Year falling on 25 March (Lady Day), the difference being accounted for by the eleven days "missed out" when Great Britain converted from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar in 1752 (the British tax authorities, and landlords were unwilling to lose 11 days of tax and rent revenue, so under provision 6 (Times of Payment of Rents, Annuities, &c.) of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, the 1752–3 tax year was extended by 11 days). From 1753 until 1799, the tax year in Great Britain began on 5 April, which was the "old style" new year of 25 March. A 12th skipped Julian leap day in 1800 changed its start to 6 April. It was not changed when a 13th Julian leap day was skipped in 1900, so the start of the personal tax year in the United Kingdom is still 6 April.[21][22]

United States

The United States federal government's fiscal year is the 12-month period beginning on 1 October and ending on 30 September of the next calendar year. The identification of a fiscal year is the calendar year in which it ends; thus, the current fiscal year is 2014 (shortened to FY2014) which began on October 1, 2013 and will end on September 30, 2014.

Prior to 1976, the fiscal year began on 1 July and ended on 30 June. The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 made the change to allow Congress more time to arrive at a budget each year, and provided for what is known as the "transitional quarter" from 1 July 1976 to 30 September 1976. An earlier shift in the federal government's fiscal year was made in 1843, shifting the fiscal year from a calendar year to one starting on July 1. [23]

As stated above, the tax year for a business is governed by the fiscal year it chooses.[24]

For example, the United States government fiscal year for 2014 ("FY 2014" or "FY14") is as follows:

  • 1st quarter: 1 October 2013 – 31 December 2013
  • 2nd quarter: 1 January 2014 – 31 March 2014
  • 3rd quarter: 1 April 2014 – 30 June 2014
  • 4th quarter: 1 July 2014 – 30 September 2014

Chart of various fiscal years

By Country
Country Purpose 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Australia
Canada govt
corp. and pers.
China
Costa Rica
Egypt
Hong Kong
India
Germany
Japan govt
corp. and pers.
New Zealand govt
corp. and pers.
Pakistan
Portugal
Republic of Ireland
Russia
Singapore govt
pers
South Africa
Spain
Sweden pers.
corp.
Thailand
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom pers. 6 April
corp. and govt
United States govt
Country Purpose J F M A M J J A S O N D J F M A M J J A S O N D

Tax year

The fiscal year for individuals and entities to report and pay income taxes is often known as the taxpayer's tax year or taxable year. Taxpayers in many jurisdictions may choose their tax year.[25] In federal countries (e.g., United States, Canada, Switzerland), state/provincial/cantonal tax years must be the same as the federal year. Nearly all jurisdictions require that the tax year be 12 months or 52/53 weeks.[26] However, short years are permitted as the first year or when changing tax years.[27]

Most countries require all individuals to pay income tax based on the calendar year. Significant exceptions include:

  • United Kingdom: individuals pay tax on a year ending 5 April. This is due to Britain historically having a calendar year starting on 25 March in the Julian calendar, which translates to 6 April in the Gregorian calendar.
  • United States: individuals may (but rarely do) elect any tax year, subject to IRS approval.[28]

Many jurisdictions require that the tax year conform to the taxpayer's fiscal year for financial reporting. The United States is a notable exception: taxpayers may choose any tax year, but must keep books and records for such year.[26]

See also

  • 4-4-5 Calendar

References

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