A fiscal year (or financial year, or sometimes budget year is used by government accounting and budget purposes, which varies between countries. It is also used for financial reporting by businesses 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.
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.
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.
Chart of various fiscal years
|Republic of Ireland|
|United Arab Emirates|
|United Kingdom||personal||6 April|
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. 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. However, short years are permitted as the first year or when changing tax years.
Most countries require all individuals to pay income tax based on the calendar year. Significant exceptions include:
Australia: individuals pay income tax based on the financial year of 1 July until 30 June.
United Kingdom: individuals pay tax on a year ending 5 April. This is due to Britain historically having a calendar year starting on Lady Day (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.
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.
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.
In Afghanistan, the fiscal year was recently 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.
|Solar Hijri year||Gregorian year||Solar Hijri year||Gregorian year|
|1||1354*||21 March 1975 – 20 March 1976||1387*||20 March 2008 – 20 March 2009|
|2||1355||21 March 1976 – 20 March 1977||1388||21 March 2009 – 20 March 2010|
|3||1356||21 March 1977 – 20 March 1978||1389||21 March 2010 – 20 March 2011|
|4||1357||21 March 1978 – 20 March 1979||1390||21 March 2011 – 19 March 2012|
|5||1358*||21 March 1979 – 20 March 1980||1391*||20 March 2012 – 20 March 2013|
|6||1359||21 March 1980 – 20 March 1981||1392||21 March 2013 – 20 March 2014|
|7||1360||21 March 1981 – 20 March 1982||1393||21 March 2014 – 20 March 2015|
|8||1361||21 March 1982 – 20 March 1983||1394||21 March 2015 – 19 March 2016|
|9||1362*||21 March 1983 – 20 March 1984||1395*||20 March 2016 – 20 March 2017|
|10||1363||21 March 1984 – 20 March 1985||1396||21 March 2017 – 20 March 2018|
|11||1364||21 March 1985 – 20 March 1986||1397||21 March 2018 – 20 March 2019|
|12||1365||21 March 1986 – 20 March 1987||1398||21 March 2019 – 19 March 2020|
|13||1366*||21 March 1987 – 20 March 1988||1399*||20 March 2020 – 20 March 2021|
|14||1367||21 March 1988 – 20 March 1989||1400||21 March 2021 – 20 March 2022|
|15||1368||21 March 1989 – 20 March 1990||1401||21 March 2022 – 20 March 2023|
|16||1369||21 March 1990 – 20 March 1991||1402||21 March 2023 – 19 March 2024|
|17||1370*||21 March 1991 – 20 March 1992||1403*||20 March 2024 – 20 March 2025|
|18||1371||21 March 1992 – 20 March 1993||1404||21 March 2025 – 20 March 2026|
|19||1372||21 March 1993 – 20 March 1994||1405||21 March 2026 – 20 March 2027|
|20||1373||21 March 1994 – 20 March 1995||1406||21 March 2027 – 19 March 2028|
|21||1374||21 March 1995 – 19 March 1996||1407||20 March 2028 – 19 March 2029|
|22||1375*||20 March 1996 – 20 March 1997||1408*||20 March 2029 – 20 March 2030|
|23||1376||21 March 1997 – 20 March 1998||1409||21 March 2030 – 20 March 2031|
|24||1377||21 March 1998 – 20 March 1999||1410||21 March 2031 – 19 March 2032|
|25||1378||21 March 1999 – 19 March 2000||1411||20 March 2032 – 19 March 2033|
|26||1379*||20 March 2000 – 20 March 2001||1412*||20 March 2033 – 20 March 2034|
|27||1380||21 March 2001 – 20 March 2002||1413||21 March 2034 – 20 March 2035|
|28||1381||21 March 2002 – 20 March 2003||1414||21 March 2035 – 19 March 2036|
|29||1382||21 March 2003 – 19 March 2004||1415||20 March 2036 – 19 March 2037|
|30||1383*||20 March 2004 – 20 March 2005||1416*||20 March 2037 – 20 March 2038|
|31||1384||21 March 2005 – 20 March 2006||1417||21 March 2038 – 20 March 2039|
|32||1385||21 March 2006 – 20 March 2007||1418||21 March 2039 – 19 March 2040|
|33||1386||21 March 2007 – 19 March 2008||1419||20 March 2040 – 19 March 2041|
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. 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. 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.
|Quarter 1||1 Jul – 30 Sep|
|Quarter 2||1 Oct – 31 Dec|
|Quarter 3||1 Jan – 31 Mar|
|Quarter 4||1 Apr – 30 Jun|
In Austria the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.
In Brazil, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.
In Canada, 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.
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.
In Colombia, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.
In Costa Rica, the fiscal year is 1 October to 30 September.
In Greece, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.
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.
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. 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.
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.
In Japan, 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 2019–nendo.
Japan's income tax year is 1 January to 31 December, but corporate tax is charged according to the corporation's own annual period.
In Macau, the government's financial year is 1 January to 31 December.
In Mexico, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.
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.
In Poland, the fiscal year is from 1 January to 31 December.
In Portugal, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.
In Qatar, the fiscal year is from 1 January to 31 December.
The fiscal year for the calculation of personal income taxes is 1 January to 31 December.
The fiscal year for the Government of Singapore and many government-linked corporations is 1 April to 31 March.
Corporations and organisations are permitted to select any date as the end of each fiscal year, as long as this date remains constant.
In South Africa, the fiscal year for the Government of South Africa is 1 April to 31 March.
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.
The fiscal year for an organisation is typically one of the following:
1 January to 31 December
1 May to 30 April
1 July to 30 June
1 September to 31 August
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.
United Arab Emirates
In the United Arab Emirates, the fiscal year is the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 set their own fiscal year. Forty-six of the fifty states set their fiscal year to end on 30 June. Four states have fiscal years that end on a different date:
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.