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Tax return by 31 January    But why does the UK tax year start on 6 April?

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In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.

The Julian calendar consisted of eleven months, whereas the new system contained 12 months and eliminated a leap year in each century.

The Gregorian calendar was adopted by almost all of Europe, with the exception of the United Kingdom, due to "disagreements" with the head of the Catholic Church on the issue of divorce.


Then, the start of the tax year fell on Lady Day, 25 March.

In 1750, the British decided to align their calendar with that of the rest of Europe (Calendar (New Style) Act 1750).

1751 had 282 days, from 25 March to 31 December.

In 1752, Wednesday 2 September was followed by Thursday 14 September, 11 days less.

The British people protested because they were going to pay a whole year's tax, even though the year had 11 fewer days.

The Treasury therefore moved the start of the tax year by 11 days, from 25 March to 5 April.

In 1800, a leap year, with 1 day less, the start of the tax year was moved to 6 April.

Finally, the date for filing tax returns is 31 January.




An Election Entertainment, Engraving by the most obedient humble servant, Wm Hogarth, 1755,

« Give us our eleven days », on the banner under the right foot of the seated man.  

Image ©Google Art


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