The Narendra Modi government is looking at the possibility of changing the financial year of April 1 to March 31, and aligning the same with the calendar year from Jan 1 to Dec 31. This will break a 150-year old system, which started under the British rule way back in 1867. Take a look at some of the countries like India that still follow the April to March period as the financial year.
The United Kingdom follows the April 1 to March 31 period as the financial year. This is a practice that is now many centuries old in the country. So government corporations, public institutions etc., all follow the April 1 to March 31 period as fiscal year for budgeting purposes.
However, for personal tax purposes the fiscal year begins on April 6 and ends on April 5 of the following year.
Canada is another country that follows an April 1 to March 31 as the fiscal year. However, this is for the government and for purposes of budgeting and planning. For individual tax payers the calendar year is the fiscal year. So, if you are an individual who has to pay taxes your income would be determined based on the Jan 1 to December 31 period.
In Japan too, the government's financial year begins on April 1 and ends on March 31, 2017. However, for the purpose of determining income for the payment of tax, the Jan 1 to Dec 31 period is followed. For corporate tax, the charge is levied based on the company's annual period.
New Zealand somehow does not follow the calendar year. The government follows July 1 to the next June as the year for financial reporting and also for the Budget. Companies and individuals on the other hand follow financial year April 1 to March 31.
Countries with a very different fiscal year
There are many countries that follow a very different period as fiscal year. For example, in Costa Rica the fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. On the other hand in Egypt it is July 1 to July 30. For Iran, the fiscal year starts on March 21 and ends on March 20 of the following year.