Fiscal year

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A fiscal year (or financial year, or sometimes budget year) used by governments for accounting and budget purposes, which varies between countries. It is also used for financial reporting by business and other organizations. Laws in many jurisdictions require company financial reports to be prepared and published on an annual basis, but generally, do not require the reporting period to align with the calendar year (1 January to 31 December). Taxation laws generally require accounting records to be maintained and taxes calculated on an annual basis, which usually corresponds to the fiscal year used for government purposes. The calculation of tax on an annual basis is especially relevant for direct taxation, such as income tax. Many annual government fees—such as Council rates, license fees, etc.—are also levied on a fiscal year basis, while others are charged on an anniversary basis.

Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a legal body to administer justice within a defined field of responsibility, e.g., Michigan tax law. In federations like the United States, areas of jurisdiction apply to local, state, and federal levels; e.g. the court has jurisdiction to apply federal law.

Generally speaking, a calendar year begins on the New Year's Day of the given calendar system and ends on the day before the following New Year's Day, and thus consists of a whole number of days. A year can also be measured by starting on any other named day of the calendar, and ending on the day before this named day in the following year. This may be termed a "year's time", but not a "calendar year". To reconcile the calendar year with the astronomical cycle certain years contain extra days.

Though the actual definitions vary between jurisdictions, in general, a direct tax is a tax imposed upon a person or property as distinct from a tax imposed upon a transaction, which is described as an indirect tax. The term may be used in economic and political analyses, but does not itself have any legal implications. However, in the United States, the term has special constitutional significance because of a provision in the U.S. Constitution that any direct taxes imposed by the national government be apportioned among the states on the basis of population. In the European Union direct taxation remains the sole responsibility of member states.

Contents

Some companies—such as Cisco Systems [1] —end their fiscal year on the same day of the week each year, i.e. the day that is 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.

Cisco Systems American multinational technology company

Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate headquartered in San Jose, California, in the center of Silicon Valley. Cisco develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware, telecommunications equipment and other high-technology services and products. Through its numerous acquired subsidiaries, such as OpenDNS, WebEx, Jabber and Jasper, Cisco specializes into specific tech markets, such as Internet of Things (IoT), domain security and energy management.

The calendar year is used as the fiscal year by 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 being in Australia, New Zealand and Japan. [3] [ not in citation given ]

Many universities have a fiscal year which ends during the summer to align the fiscal year with the academic year (and, in some cases involving public universities, with the state government's fiscal year), and because the university is normally less busy during the summer months. In the northern hemisphere this is July to the next June. In the southern hemisphere this is calendar year, January to December. Some media/communication-based organizations use a broadcast calendar as the basis for their fiscal year.

An academic year or school year is a period of time which schools, colleges and universities use to measure a quantity of study.

The broadcast calendar is a standardized calendar used primarily for the planning and purchase of radio and television programs and advertising. Every week in the broadcast calendar starts on a Monday and ends on a Sunday, and every month has either four or five such weeks. Broadcast calendar months thus have either 28 or 35 days.

The fiscal year is usually denoted by the calendar year in which it ends, so United States federal government spending incurred on 14 November 2019 would belong to fiscal year 2020, operating on a fiscal calendar of October–September. [4]

Chart of various fiscal years

Start date of fiscal year by country
CountryPurpose(Jul)(Aug)(Sep)(Oct)(Nov)(Dec)JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec(Jan)(Feb)(Mar)
Australia
Austria
Bangladesh
Belgium
Brazil
Canadagovernment
corporate/personal
China
Costa Rica
Egypt
Ethiopia8 July
Germany
Greece
Hong Kong
India
Indonesia
Iran21 March
Israel
Japangovernment
corporate/personal
Nepal17 July
Netherlands
New Zealandgovernment
corporate/personal
Pakistan
Portugal
Qatar
Republic of Ireland
Romania
Russia
Singaporegovernment
personal
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Swedenpersonal
corporate
Switzerlandpersonal
Taiwan
Thailand
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdompersonal6 April
corporate/government
United Statesfederal
most states
corporate/personal
CountryPurpose(Jul)(Aug)(Sep)(Oct)(Nov)(Dec)JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec(Jan)(Feb)(Mar)

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. [5] Some federal countries, such as Canada and Switzerland, require the provincial or cantonal tax year to align with the federal year. In the United States, most states retained a 30 June fiscal year-end date when the federal government switched to 30 September in 1976. Nearly all jurisdictions require that the tax year be 12 months or 52/53 weeks. [6] However, short years are permitted as the first year or when changing tax years. [7]

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

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. [6]

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.[ citation needed ]

Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, the fiscal year was recently[ timeframe? ] changed from 1 Hamal – 29 Hoot (21 March – 20 March) to 1 Jadi – 30 Qaus (21 December – 20 December). The fiscal year runs with the Afghan or Solar Hijri calendar, because of the differing cycle of leap years in the Gregorian and Afghan calendars, there can be slight differences in the start date of fiscal (and calendar) years. As shown in the chart below, leap years will coincide in 2020 and 2024 but will desynchronize with the Gregorian calendar having a leap year in 2028 as opposed to the Afghan calendar's leap year of 2029.

Correspondence of Solar Hijri and Gregorian calendars (Solar Hijri leap years are marked *) [10]

33-year
cycle [11]
Solar Hijri yearGregorian yearSolar Hijri yearGregorian year
11354*21 March 1975 – 20 March 19761387*20 March 2008 – 20 March 2009
2135521 March 1976 – 20 March 1977138821 March 2009 – 20 March 2010
3135621 March 1977 – 20 March 1978138921 March 2010 – 20 March 2011
4135721 March 1978 – 20 March 1979139021 March 2011 – 19 March 2012
51358*21 March 1979 – 20 March 19801391*20 March 2012 – 20 March 2013
6135921 March 1980 – 20 March 1981139221 March 2013 – 20 March 2014
7136021 March 1981 – 20 March 1982139321 March 2014 – 20 March 2015
8136121 March 1982 – 20 March 1983139421 March 2015 – 19 March 2016
91362*21 March 1983 – 20 March 19841395*20 March 2016 – 20 March 2017
10136321 March 1984 – 20 March 1985139621 March 2017 – 20 March 2018
11136421 March 1985 – 20 March 1986139721 March 2018 – 20 March 2019
12136521 March 1986 – 20 March 1987139821 March 2019 – 19 March 2020
131366*21 March 1987 – 20 March 19881399*20 March 2020 – 20 March 2021
14136721 March 1988 – 20 March 1989140021 March 2021 – 20 March 2022
15136821 March 1989 – 20 March 1990140121 March 2022 – 20 March 2023
16136921 March 1990 – 20 March 1991140221 March 2023 – 19 March 2024
171370*21 March 1991 – 20 March 19921403*20 March 2024 – 20 March 2025
18137121 March 1992 – 20 March 1993140421 March 2025 – 20 March 2026
19137221 March 1993 – 20 March 1994140521 March 2026 – 20 March 2027
20137321 March 1994 – 20 March 1995140621 March 2027 – 19 March 2028
21137421 March 1995 – 19 March 1996140720 March 2028 – 19 March 2029
221375*20 March 1996 – 20 March 19971408*20 March 2029 – 20 March 2030
23137621 March 1997 – 20 March 1998140921 March 2030 – 20 March 2031
24137721 March 1998 – 20 March 1999141021 March 2031 – 19 March 2032
25137821 March 1999 – 19 March 2000141120 March 2032 – 19 March 2033
261379*20 March 2000 – 20 March 20011412*20 March 2033 – 20 March 2034
27138021 March 2001 – 20 March 2002141321 March 2034 – 20 March 2035
28138121 March 2002 – 20 March 2003141421 March 2035 – 19 March 2036
29138221 March 2003 – 19 March 2004141520 March 2036 – 19 March 2037
301383*20 March 2004 – 20 March 20051416*20 March 2037 – 20 March 2038
31138421 March 2005 – 20 March 2006141721 March 2038 – 20 March 2039
32138521 March 2006 – 20 March 2007141821 March 2039 – 19 March 2040
33138621 March 2007 – 19 March 2008141920 March 2040 – 19 March 2041

Australia

In Australia, a fiscal year is commonly called a "financial year" (FY) and starts on 1 July and ends on the next 30 June. Financial years are designated by the calendar year of the second half of the period. For example, financial year 2017 is the 12-month period ending on 30 June 2017 and can be referred to as FY2016/17. It is used for official purposes, by individual taxpayers and by the overwhelming majority of business enterprises. [8] Business enterprises may opt to use a financial year that ends at the end of a week (e.g., 52 or 53 weeks in length, and therefore is not exactly one calendar year in length), or opt for its financial year to end on a date that matches the reporting cycle of its foreign parent. All entities within the one group must use the same financial year.

For government accounting and budget purposes, pre-Federation colonies changed the financial year from the calendar year to a year ending 30 June on the following dates: Victoria changed in 1870, South Australia in 1874, Queensland in 1875, Western Australia in 1892, New South Wales in 1895 and Tasmania in 1904. The Commonwealth adopted the near-ubiquitous financial year standard since its inception in 1901. [12] The reason given for the change was for convenience, as Parliament typically sits during May and June, while it was difficult for it to meet in November and December to pass a budget. [12]

The Financial year is split into the following four quarters [13]

QuarterPeriod covered
Quarter 11 Jul – 30 Sep
Quarter 21 Oct – 31 Dec
Quarter 31 Jan – 31 Mar
Quarter 41 Apr – 30 Jun

Austria

In Austria the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.

Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, the fiscal year is 1 July to the next 30 June. [14]

Belarus

In Belarus, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. [15]

Brazil

In Brazil, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.

Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December, both for personal income tax [16] and for corporate taxes. [17]

Canada

In Canada, [18] the government's financial year is 1 April to 31 March.
(Q1 1 April - 30 June, Q2 1 July - 30 Sept, Q3 1 Oct - 31 Dec and Q4 1 Jan - 31 Mar)

For individual taxpayers, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.

China

In China, the fiscal year for all entities is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December, and applies to the tax year, statutory year, and planning year.[ citation needed ]

Colombia

In Colombia, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.

Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, the fiscal year is 1 October to 30 September.

Egypt

In the Arab Republic of Egypt, the fiscal year is 1 July to 30 June. [19]

France

In France, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December, and has been since at least 1911. [20]

Greece

In Greece, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, [21] the government's financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March.

India

In India, the government's financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March. It is abbreviated as a FY20. [22] [23]

Companies following the Indian Depositary Receipt (IDR) are given freedom to choose their financial year. For example, Standard Chartered's IDR follows the UK calendar despite being listed in India. Companies following Indian fiscal year get to know their economical health on 31 March of every Indian financial or fiscal year.

The current fiscal year was adopted by the colonial British government in 1867 to align India's financial year with that of the British Empire. [24] [25] Prior to 1867, India followed a fiscal year that ran from 1 May to 30 April. [26]

In 1984, the LK Jha committee recommended adopting a fiscal year that ran from 1 January to 31 December. However, this proposal was not adopted by the government fearing possible issues during the transition period. [26] A panel set up by the NITI Aayog in July 2016, recommended starting the next fiscal year from 1 January to 31 December after the end of the current five-year plan. [27]

On 4 May 2017, Madhya Pradesh announced that it would move to a January–December financial year, becoming the first Indian state to do so. But later it dropped the idea. [28]

The financial year also termed as FY in India is accounted from 1 April to 31 March every year and includes all the monetary and budgerty decisions taken by the central government. Financial year was undertaken from the 1867 British era and still continues to be same. Currently, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman chairs the union finance minister position in India.

Indonesia

In Indonesia, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. [29]

Iran

In Iran, the fiscal year usually starts on 21 March (1st of Farvardin) and concludes on next year's 20 March (29th of Esfand) in Solar Hijri calendar [30]

Ireland

Until 2001, the fiscal year in Ireland was the year ending 5 April, as in the United Kingdom. From 2002, to coincide with the introduction of the euro, it was changed to the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. The 2001 tax year was nine months, from April to December. [31]

Israel

In Israel, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. [32]

Italy

In Italy, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. It was changed in 1965, before which it was 1 July to 30 June.[ citation needed ]

Japan

In Japan, [33] the government's financial year is 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 2019 to 31 March 2020 is called 2019nendo.

Japan's income tax year is 1 January to 31 December, but corporate tax is charged according to the corporation's own annual period.[ citation needed ]

Macau

In Macau, the government's financial year is 1 January to 31 December.

Mexico

In Mexico, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.

Myanmar/Burma

In Myanmar, [34] the fiscal year is 1 October to 30 September.

Nepal

In Nepal, the fiscal year is 1 Shrawan (4th month of Bikram calendar) to 31 Ashad (3rd month of Bikram calendar). Shrawan 1 roughly falls in mid-July. [35]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the government's fiscal [36] and financial reporting [37] year is 1 July to the next 30 June [38] and applies also to the budget. The company and personal financial year [39] is 1 April to 31 March and applies to company and personal income tax.

Pakistan

The Pakistani government's fiscal year is 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's fiscal year. [40]

Portugal

In Portugal, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.

Qatar

In Qatar, the fiscal year is from 1 January to 31 December.

Romania

In Romania, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. [41]

Russia

In Russia, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. [20]

Singapore

The fiscal year for the calculation of personal income taxes is 1 January to 31 December.[ citation needed ]

The fiscal year for the Government of Singapore and many government-linked corporations is 1 April to 31 March.[ citation needed ]

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

South Africa

In South Africa, the fiscal year for the Government of South Africa is 1 April to 31 March.[ citation needed ]

The year of assessment for individuals covers twelve months, 1 March to 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.[ citation needed ]

South Korea

In South Korea, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. [42]

Spain

In Spain, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. [43]

Sweden

In Sweden, the fiscal year for individuals is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. [44]

The fiscal year for an organisation is typically one of the following:

However, all calendar months are allowed. If an organisation wishes to change into a non-calendar year, permission from the Tax Authority is required. [45] [46]

Switzerland

In Switzerland, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. [47]

Republic of China

In Republic of China (Taiwan), the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. 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. [48]

Thailand

In Thailand, the government's fiscal year (FY) is 1 October to 30 September of the following year. [49] For individual taxpayers it is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.

Ukraine

In Ukraine, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. [50]

United Arab Emirates

In the United Arab Emirates, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.[ citation needed ]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, [51] the financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March for the purposes of government financial statements. [52] For personal tax purposes the fiscal year starts on 6 April and ends on 5 April of the next calendar year. [53]

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.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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 September 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 1752–53 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. [54] [55] [56]

United States

Federal government

The United States federal government's fiscal year is the 12-month period beginning 1 October and ending 30 September the following year. The identification of a fiscal year is the calendar year in which it ends; thus, the current fiscal year is 2019, often written as "FY2019" or "FY19", which began on 1 October 2018 and will end on 30 September 2019.

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 1 July. [57]

For example, the United States government fiscal year for 2019 is:

  • 1st quarter: 1 October 2018 – 31 December 2018
  • 2nd quarter: 1 January 2019 – 31 March 2019
  • 3rd quarter: 1 April 2019 – 30 June 2019
  • 4th quarter: 1 July 2019 – 30 September 2019

State governments

State governments set their own fiscal year. Forty-six of the fifty states set their fiscal year to end on 30 June. [58] Four states have fiscal years that end on a different date:

The fiscal year for the Washington, D.C., government ends on 30 September. [59]

Among the inhabited territories of the United States, most align with the federal fiscal year, ending on 30 September. These include American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. [58] Puerto Rico is the exception, with its fiscal year ending on 30 June.

Businesses and organizations

The tax year for a business is governed by the fiscal year it chooses. A business may choose any consistent fiscal year that it wants; however, for seasonal businesses such as farming and retail, a good account practice is to end the fiscal year shortly after the highest revenue time of year. Consequently, most large agriculture companies end their fiscal years after the harvest season, and most retailers end their fiscal years shortly after the Christmas shopping season.

See also

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Further reading