No, I haven’t got my dates wrong, the 6 April is the start of the new tax year.
Why the 6 April?
This date was fixed in 1752. Prior to this date the UK had stayed with the Julian calendar rather than adopting the Gregorian calendar. By 1752, the British were 11 days behind the rest of Europe. To catch up, the 2 September that year was immediately followed by 14 September. One interesting fact that emerges from this change is that no births or deaths were registered in Britain from 3rd to the 13th September 1752.
Taxpayers took to the streets complaining that on the traditional start of the tax year at that time, Ladies Day 25 March 1752, they were being asked to pay a full year’s tax for a period of 354 days.
Obligingly, the Treasury extended the new tax year beginning date by 11 days to 5 April 1753 and it remained the 5 April until 1800 when the effects of a leap year were added, and the new years tax date became 6 April.
Since 1800, no further days have been added to account for leap years.
There is pressure on the Treasury to change the tax year end date to 31 March. Only Income Tax and CGT are levied from the 6 April date. VAT accounting periods always start at the beginning of a calendar month and the financial year for Corporation Tax begins 1 April.
Will Philip Hammond be the one to change to a universal 1st April date? Or will associations with other labels attached to the 1 April date hold him back?