Why Does the UK Financial Year Start on 6th April?

05/04/2015

Until 1752, the fiscal or legal year officially began on Lady Day which was 25th March. This was one on the ‘quarter days’ when rent became due. In 1752, Britain changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, 170 years after continental Europe and 11 days were ‘lost’ as a result.

Add these 11 days to the old Lady Day and you get a tax year beginning on 5th April. Which was how things stayed until 1800. A further anomaly between the Julian and Gregorian calendars is that under the Julian every year starting a century is a leap year, whereas this is not the case for the Gregorian.To correct this a further day was ‘lost’ from the tax year and we arrived at our present start of the fiscal year – 6th April.

Never slow to recognise the loss of tax, the Treasury of the day realised that if 11 days were lost from a tax year, the revenue from that year would be a bit light. So they decided to tax the population for a full year, even though there were only 354 days in the year. This caused rioting as the people expressed their anger at paying a greater amount of tax in that year. However, their protests were in vain and the tax was collected.The same happened in 1800 but less so as it was just one day.

Just in case you were wondering, the year 2000 is the first year at the beginning of a century to be a leap year since 1600 under the Gregorian calendar. This is because under the Gregorian calendar for a year to be counted as a Leap Year it must be exactly divisible by both 100 and 400.

I hope the above was interesting.