Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
What is the difference between a fiscal year and a tax year?


Both of these terms describe a period of time.

  • Fiscal Year (also sometimes called fiscal period): A Fiscal Period is a specific period of time used for taxing and or accounting purposes. For example, rather than using a calendar year, an organization might have a fiscal year that runs from July 1 through June 30. Often time, the year of the end of the period is used to "Name" the fiscal period. For instance, if your organization had a fiscal period of 4/1/2017 through 3/31/2018, you might refer to that as your 2018 fiscal year. Your Fiscal Year-end Date is the month and day of the end of your fiscal period. In the preceding example, the Fiscal Year-End date would be 3/31.

  • Tax Year: A tax year has a very specific meaning for the IRS. Like a fiscal period, it is a period of time covered by a tax return. Unlike a fiscal year, however, an IRS Tax year is always named based on the year of the beginning of the period. So, a return for the period of 10/1/2017 through 9/30/2018 would be considered a 2017 tax year return.

If you need to change the fiscal year/tax period of your return, please see the instructions here



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Last modified: November 20, 2018.