The new Tax Year is now well under way. Those of you that are employed will be receiving your first payslip of the new tax year and will also shortly have a P60. For those that are self-employed, many will now be starting to collate information for the tax year that has now ended, ready for submission of your self assessment accounts to HMRC.
I’m often, ok, sometimes… asked why does that tax year begin on 6th April rather than 1st January. This is a good example of “recency bias” in assuming that things have always been as they are now. In practice it wasn’t until 1751 that England adopted 1st January as the opening day of the new year. The Scottish were considerably ahead adopting 1st January from about 1600. It would not surprise most Scottish that they have been out-partying the English on new years eve.
Why? well as is often the case, our calendar and practices stem from religious beliefs and events. England, being Protestant didn’t adopt the Gregorian calendar when it was introduced in 1582 by the Pope. You may recall that the 16th century had somewhat sanguine relationships with Rome and the Catholic Church, so following the lead from Vatican City about when to set the date wasn’t likely to hold a great sense of importance. The Scottish naturally took a rather different approach.
A New Dawn
The Solstice or Spring Equinox really marks the new year, which in England dates back as far as Stonehenge, which I am told is about 2500BC and recent DNA discoveries suggest that those that built Stonehenge were from Anatolia (modern Turkey). March 25th was the equivalent of January 1st. As Christianity spread and Easter took the place of Spring Equinox, the minor problems of the calendar drift began to materialise over centuries. By 1584 the then Pope Gregory decreed the changes required, making the adjustments. It wasn’t until the Calendar Act in 1750 that the calendar correction was applied to England (and the Empire) in 1751.
In Time with Europe
The English calendar needed to add 11 days to catch up with the Gregorian Calendar. So September 2nd was followed by September 14th. This made for a short year (25 March to 31 December) and tax collectors basically didnt like it, so simply shifed 25 March by adding 11 days and allowing for the Leap Year of 1800, so the new tax year began on 6th April. Not even time can truly bend the two great certainties of life… death and taxes.
You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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