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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

New Tax Year

Today is the first day of the new tax year in the UK. This would hardly qualify as a fun fact, if it weren't for the fact that it's on such an odd date. So odd, indeed, that I got it completely wrong this year and tried to make up my annual accounts at the end of March.

Having got suitably cross with myself for messing up my nice neat record book (um, obsessive, moi....?), it was all made right when I found out that the reason for us having such a silly tax year is due to the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. Yes, really. The financial year used to run to the 25th March, but it was extended so that those in power didn't lose 11 days' revenue when the calendar changed over.

Somehow, the fact that it's an interesting historical artifact makes me feel rather better about the whole thing. And having learnt the background, I think I'm less likely to make the same mistake next year!


Rachel said...

That's a new one to me as well, I must admit. The things one discovers...!

liliannattel said...

March 25th seems an equally odd date!

MJ said...

That is interesting- I'm impressed that you went out of your way to find out about it, too!

SilverNeurotic said...

It would make much more sense to have the financial year go from Jan 1st to Dec 31st like it is in the States. So much easier to keep track of.

Andrew Cotterill said...

About the odd 25th Mar date. In England, 25th Mar, Lady Day was official New Year's Day from the 12th century up to 1752. Then following the move from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, 1 January became the start of the year. The 25th of March approximates to the spring equinox. In Iran a date around this time 20th/21st Mar is still considered to be New Year (Festival of Nowruz). Hence in England its basis for 6th Apr. In fact the initial shift of tax year was to the 5th Apr, but due to further calender reconciliations (the 1800 Julian leap year) another extra day was inserted! A further day should have been inserted in 1900 but wasn't!

Jenny Woolf said...

I never knew that was the reason. I should have been curious enough to go and find out - I'm glad someone was!

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