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Trivia

Have you ever wondered why the UK tax year starts on 6th April?

In 1582 Pope Gregory xiii grew tired of the inaccuracies in the existing ‘Julian’ calendar and ordered the calendar to be changed. The Julian calendar named after Julius Caesar had been in place since 45 BC.

Caesar’s calendar differed from the solar calendar by 11½ minutes.

This was not a big problem at the start, however, after 500 years this small inaccuracy had started to build up to 10 days off the solar calendar.  With this in mind, Pope Gregory introduced the Gregorian calendar.

The Gregorian calendar reduced the length of the calendar year from 365.25 days to 365.2425, a reduction of 10 minutes 48 seconds per year!

This and a few other tweaks ensured Pope Gregory’s calendar was a much more accurate time keeper. The Gregorian Calendar was then introduced in Italy, Spain, Portugal and what was then the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth.

The Gregorian Calendar was initially quite a slow burner in the British Empire, it wasn’t introduced until 1752.  By then the British calendar was 11 days off the rest of Europe, with this due to increase as time passed, the British knew it was time for a change.

On the old British Calendar the tax year began on March 25 (the old New Year’s Day).  In order to ensure against losing revenue it was decided by the British Treasury that the tax year, which started on March 25 1752, would be of the usual length (365 days) and therefore it would end on April 4, the following tax year beginning on April 5.

Time passed smoothly and most importantly accurately until 1800.  Unfortunately 1800 was not a leap year in the new Gregorian calendar but would have been in the old Julian system. Thus the treasury moved the start of the UK tax year from the April 5 to the April 6 and it has remained there ever since!

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HMRC phone scams

You’ll never get an email, text message or phone call from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which:

  • tells you about a tax rebate or penalty
  • asks for your personal or payment information

Reporting suspicious emails, texts or phone calls

You can report something suspicious to HMRC’s phishing team, for example:

  • a text message (forward it to 60599 – you’ll be charged at your network rate)
  • an email
  • details of a phone call asking for personal information or threatening a lawsuit

If you receive a suspicious phone call, you can help HMRC’s investigations by providing:

  • your phone number
  • the caller’s phone number
  • the time and date of the call
  • a brief description of the call

HMRC phishing team’s email address is phishing@hmrc.gov.uk.

Your email address and phone number will be shared with other organisations if that’s necessary to close down the scam.

 

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