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A fiscal year (or financial year, or sometimes budget year) is a period used for calculating annual ("yearly") financial statements in businesses and other organizations. In many jurisdictions, regulatory laws regarding accounting and taxation require such reports once per twelve months, but do not require that the period reported on constitutes a calendar year (that is, 1 January to 31 December). Fiscal years vary between businesses and countries. The "fiscal year" may also refer to the year used for income tax reporting.
Some companies choose to end their fiscal year on the same day of the week, such day being the one closest to a particular date (for example, the Friday closest to 31 December). Under such a system, some fiscal years will have 52 weeks and others 53 weeks. Major corporations that adopt this approach include Cisco Systems.
In the United Kingdom, 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.
Nevertheless, the fiscal year is identical to the calendar year for about 65% of publicly traded companies in the United States and for a majority of large corporations in the UK and elsewhere (with notable exceptions Australia, New Zealand and Japan).
Many universities have a fiscal year which ends during the summer, both to align the fiscal year with the school year (and, in some cases involving public universities, with the state government's fiscal year), and because the school is normally less busy during the summer months. In the Northern hemisphere this is July in one year to June in the next year. In the southern hemisphere this is January to December of a single calendar year.
Some media/communication based organizations use a broadcast calendar as the basis for their fiscal 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 Australia, the Fiscal Year starts on 1 July and ends on 30 June. For personal income tax after the financial year ends, individuals have until 31 October to lodge their return (unless they use a tax agent).
In Colombia, the Fiscal Year starts 1 January ending in 31 December. Yearly taxes are due in the middle of March/April for Corporations while citizens pay income tax (when needed) starting in August, ending in September, according to the last 2 digits of the national id.
Costa Rica 
The Fiscal Year in Costa Rica spans from 1 October until 30 September. Taxpayers are required to pay the tributes before 15 December of each year.
Canada, Hong Kong 
For individuals in Canada, the fiscal year runs from 1 January to 31 December.
The fiscal year for all entities starts on 1 January and ends 31 December, consistent with the calendar year, to match the tax year, statutory year, and planning year.
In the Arab Republic of Egypt, the fiscal year starts on 1 July and concludes on 30 June.
Effective 1911:- Fiscal year is calendar year (Ref Hansard; HC Deb 22 to 21 March 1911 vol 23 cc378-82; McKENNA)
Companies following the Indian Depositary Receipts (IDR) are give freedom to chose their financial year. For example, Standard Chartered's IDR follows the UK calendar despite being listed in India. .
Ireland also used the year ending 5 April until 2001 when it was changed, at the request of Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy, to match the calendar year (the 2001 tax year was nine months, from April to December)
Since 2002, it is aligned with the calendar year i.e., 1 January to 31 Dececember.
Effective 1911:- Fiscal year is 1 July through 30 June Ref Hansard; HC Deb 22 March 1911 vol 23 cc378-82; McKENNA)
In Japan, the government's financial year runs 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 2010 to 31 March 2011 is called 2010–nendo.
In Mexico the fiscal year is the same as the calendar year.
New Zealand 
The New Zealand Government's fiscal and financial reporting year begins on 1 July and concludes on 30 June of the following year and applies to the budget. The company and personal financial year begins on 1 April and finishes on 31 March and applies to company and personal income tax.
The Pakistan Government's fiscal year starts on 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 of Pakistan's fiscal year.
Effective 1911:- Fiscal year is calendar year (Ref Hansard; HC Deb 22 March 1911 vol 23 cc378-82; McKENNA)
The fiscal year for the calculation of personal income taxes runs from 1 January to 31 December.
Corporations and organisations are permitted to select any date to mark the end of each fiscal year, as long as this date remains constant.
South Africa 
In South Africa the fiscal year for the Government of South Africa starts on 1 April and ends 31 March. The year of assessment for individuals covers 12 months, beginning on 1 March and ending on 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.
In Spain the fiscal year starts on 1 January and ends 31 December.
The fiscal year for individuals runs from 1 January to 31 December.
The fiscal year for an organisation is typically one of the following (cf. Swedish Wikipedia):
- 1 January to 31 December
- 1 May to 30 April
- 1 July to 30 June
- 1 September to 31 August
If an organisation wishes to use any other period, the organisation has to ask the tax authorities for permission.
Under the Income Tax Act of Taiwan, the fiscal year commences on 1 January and ends on 31 December of each calendar year. 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.
Thai government's fiscal year begins on 1 October of the previous calendar year and ends on 30 September of the next year.
United Arab Emirates 
In the United Arab Emirates, the fiscal year starts on 1 January and ends 31 December.
United Kingdom 
United States 
The U.S. federal government's fiscal year begins on 1 October of the previous calendar year and ends on 30 September of the year with which it is numbered. Prior to 1976, the fiscal year began on 1 July and ended on 30 June. The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 stipulated 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. As stated above, the tax year for a business is governed by the fiscal year it chooses.
For example, the United States government fiscal year for 2013 ("FY 2013" or "FY13") is as follows:
- 1st quarter: 1 October 2012 – 31 December 2012
- 2nd quarter: 1 January 2013 – 31 March 2013
- 3rd quarter: 1 April 2013 – 30 June 2013
- 4th quarter: 1 July 2013 – 30 September 2013
Note this is only for US government, not for businesses.
Chart of various fiscal years 
|Republic of Ireland|
|corp. and pers.|
|corp. and pers.|
|United Arab Emirates|
|United Kingdom||pers.||6 April|
|corp. and govt|
|By Start Date|
|Republic of Ireland|
|Japan||corp. and pers.|
|United Arab Emirates|
|New Zealand||corp. and pers.|
|United Kingdom||corp. and govt|
|United Kingdom||pers.||6 April|
Tax year 
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. In federal countries (e.g., United States, Canada, Switzerland), state/provincial/cantonal tax years must be the same as the federal year. 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:
- United Kingdom: individuals pay tax on a year ending 5 April.
- 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.
See also 
- MATT RICHTEL (12 May 2004). "Cisco Profit For Quarter Slightly Beats Estimates". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- Thomson ONE Banker, Thomson Reuters Datastream and individual companies (31 March 2011). "FT UK 500 2011" (PDF). Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan (20). "Definitions" (PDF). Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan Constitution. Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- ATO (07). "Guide to lodging your tax return" (in English). Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- Department of Justice Canada (1985). "Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act". Department of Justice Canada (in English and French). Department of Justice Canada. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- CIA – The World Factbook – Hong Kong
- CIA – The World Factbook – India
- "Why financial year & calendar year differ in India?". Reuters. 10 November 2008.
- CIA – The World Factbook – Japan
- CIA – The World Factbook – Burma
- Annual Report for the New Zealand Treasury
- New Zealand International Financial Reporting Standards
- New Zealand Inland Revenue tax calendar
- "Investing in Taiwan". Taiwan Investment Guide. 2008.
- HM Revenue and Customs Introduction to Corporation Tax
- HM Treasury Accounts Direction 2008–09
- U.S. Senate: Reference Home
- See, e.g., U.S. IRS Publication 538.
- 26 USC 441
- 26 USC 443.
- See instructions to IRS Form 1128 and 26 USC 441–444.
- 26 USC 441.