It's No April Fool… Why Does The Tax Year Start In April?

Issue 22

April fools means an abundance of whoopee cushions, fake spiders and so on. But among the constant looking over your shoulder for tricksters trying to make a fool of you before lunchtime, it probably hasn’t gone unnoticed that the all-important 2017-18 tax year is upon us.

But have you ever wondered why the tax year starts on April 5th and not January 1st when the clocks ring in the New Year? We have here at KP Simpson, and while we can’t solve the mystery of life, the location of Atlantis or a Rubix cube, we can tell you all about the strange April tax year.

It might come to surprise you that it’s not a recent thing brought in by the Government just to be awkward. It does in fact date back over 200 years and as far as the year 1800, and has a lot to do with calendars. Even before 1800, despite their being 365 days in a year bar leap years of course there were two calendars which had differing lengths of year. The Julian calendar, named after Caesar was almost 12 minutes shorter than the Gregorian calendar, proposed by Pope Gregory.

Europe adopted the Gregorian calendar, but Britain and the Empire did not take it on board until 1752, by which time the 10 minutes a year had added up to almost 11 days, meaning the Empire and Britain, were behind Europe by nearly a fortnight.

The tax year before this ended in March, meaning a switch was coming. The government decided to go for the standard year of 365 days resulting in a tax date of April 4th. Come 1800, which was not a leap year as of the Gregorian calendar, but was under the Julian calendar, meant a change again with April 5th being the last day. Luckily in the two centuries following, there’s been no more changes to the date.

One thing that doesn’t change however is that only two things in life are certain death and taxes. And as it is the new tax year, you may need a little help or support. Allow KP Simpson to guide you through the choppy waters of tax and accountancy.

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