Okay, so I’m three months late in terms of the calendar New Year. But this is my first post for 2017 …
Today is 31 March, which is the final day of the New Zealand tax year. This means tomorrow isn’t just April Fools Day. It’s also the first day of the 2017/18 tax year. So while Americans should now have finished the painful task of annual taxes, those of us Down Under are just about to start.
This might seem a little odd, but there is a reason for it. And as with so many things in New Zealand, that reason goes back to jolly olde England, where the new tax year begins on 6 April. On the face of things, that seems even less logical than 1 April, but there is a reason.
If you’ve ever researched family history, you’ll know 1 January wasn’t always the beginning of the calendar year. Way back in history, when the great minds were debating these matters of importance, they decided the year should begin on 25 March.
Why? Because Jesus was born on 25 December. Therefore the angel must have visited Mary on 25 March, which is known as Lady Day. So it was only logical that 25 March should be the start of the Christian year.
Then Pope Gregory introduced the Gregorian calendar in 1582, because the existing Julian calendar had got out of sync in terms of calculating the correct date for Easter (a debate which has still not been settled). Great Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, a move which many people resented because they were ‘robbed’ of eleven days—the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars.
This short year impacted on people who paid (or earned) rent or other monthly or annual payments. A rather complicated set of decisions and an Act of Parliament meant England and Wales shifted New Year’s Day from Lady Day to 1 January. They also moved the beginning of the tax year forward to ensure the 1752 tax year still had the correct number of days. And that hasn’t changed, so the English tax year still starts on 6 April.
The original lawmakers in New Zealand must have thought a tax year starting on 6 April was a historical anomaly they could and should fix. As a result, our tax year runs from 1 April to 31 March. Except for public sector organisations, most of which run a 1 July—30 June financial year. And except for international companies, which often use the calendar year. So basically we’re all over the place.
Okay, so I’m a bit of a history nerd even though I write contemporary fiction.
I’ll be spending today in a café overlooking the beach, having my first ever annual planning day (thanks to Randy Ingermanson for the idea). I dropped the ball on some of my social media and other commitments last year, and I want to make sure that doesn’t happen again. I also want to make sure I move forward on my writing—fiction and non-fiction—and turn some of my almost-finished drafts into books or courses.
And I’ll be praying, to make sure God is in the plan. It’s His job to set the strategy and direction, and my job to execute it. To do that well, I need to hear His direction.