The Personal Tax Year
In the UK, the government’s fiscal tax year runs from April 6 to April 5 the following year. We’ll talk about just why those dates exactly a little later, but first it’s important to note that there are a number of important dates falling within the fiscal cycle that personal tax payers should be aware of.
April 6, 2011 HM Revenue and Customs issue Self-Assessment Returns and notices to complete a return for the year to April 5, 2011
July 31, 2011 On this date the second payment on account for 2010/11 falls due. An additional 5% surcharge on tax remaining unpaid from the 2009/10 tax year.
October 31, 2011 Deadline for submission of returns on paper to be submitted to HMRC
November 1, 2011 A penalty of £100 is levied for paper returns submitted after this date.
December 31, 2011 Deadline for submission of online returns in the case of tax under £2,000 being collected through PAYE for the following year.
January 31, 2012 Final date for submission of online returns Final date for paper returns for taxpayers who have been unable to submit online because of HMRC’s inability to accept online returns.
Due payment date for 2010/11 liabilities
Due date for payment of first payment on account for 2011/12 (in cases where more than £1,000 is payable and more than 20% of total tax liability for 2010/11.
February 1, 2012 Interest begins on tax unpaid as at January 31, 2012Fine of £100 imposed where returns requested by HMRC for 2010/11 have not been submitted.
February 28, 2012 5% surcharge added on unpaid 2010/11 tax. Interest continues to accrue.
These are important dates for anyone with an unpaid tax liability or anyone who is required to submit a return as missing them may result in penalties.
So why does the tax year begin on April 6?
The beginning of the fiscal year originally related to the season. Before the eighteenth century, the calendar year began on the first day of spring, March 25, or Lady Day.
In 1752, Britain moved from the old Julian calendar to adopt the Gregorian calendar. At the same time, the official beginning of the year was moved to January 1.
In order to correct the lag between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, it was decreed that the day after September 4, 1752, would be September 15. This provoked riots across the country by the public, who felt they had been robbed of eleven days.
Also at odds with the new calendar was the Treasury, which complained that it would lose eleven days worth of revenue. The Treasury was also disgruntled at the idea of having the new year begin immediately after the major festive season of Christmas. Because of this, they insisted on retaining the beginning of the fiscal year on what was now April 1, where it had always been.