The 16th Century Reason Why The UK Tax Year Begins On April 6th
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the Gregorian Calendar, January 1st through to December 31st, 12 months of days measuring the earths orbit of the sun. But until 1582 this wasn’t the case. From 42BC to 1582 Europe used the Julian Calendar put in place by Emperor Julius Caesar of Rome (this was 11 months of 30-31 days except February which was 28 days with a 29th every fourth or leap year).
This Calendar was deemed pretty good but was eventually realized to be inaccurate missing 11.5 minutes per year off the solar calendar (the time it takes for the earth to orbit the sun). Not much of an issue but a problem over time and for the Catholic Church as this meant Easter was moving further away (later) than was celebrated by the early church and by the 16th century the calendar was 10 days out.
Pope Gregory XIII was determined to do something about it and so he implemented the Gregorian calendar which we have today throughout the catholic church and subsequently Europe. Britain and Russian due to not seeing eye to eye with the Catholic Church abstained until 1752 when the British decided to join in (Russia in 1918). By this point Britain was a full 11 days out of sinc with the Solar Calendar and thus 11 days behind the Gregorian Calendar. So in 1752 September the 2nd was followed by September the 14th skipping 11 days. The treasury decided to maintain those 11 days to not lose tax revenue and so kept to the old Julian calendar which would have meant the tax year sticking to the old Julian new-year (25th of March according to the Gregorian calendar) with the 11 days (sept 2nd-14th bit) added, bringing us to April 5th 1753. Still with us?
The system was maintained until 1800 which would have been a leap year in the Julian Calendar but not in the Gregorian Calendar and so the Treasury moved the date to the 6th of April for that year and so there it has remained ever since.
The US, Canada, France and Germany all begin their tax years on January 1st. The UK and Australia following the 6th of April system outlined above.
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