Determining when to file your Form 990
depends on when you start your fiscal year. You would be surprised at how many different interpretations there are for a Fiscal Year. Even more confusing a fiscal year is not one established time frame for businesses, organizations, or the government. To best understand what a fiscal year is…let’s get to the basics first then build a better understanding form there.
Fiscal Year – a 12-month period used by a government, business, or organization to calculate how much money is being earned, spent, etc. A fiscal year is sometimes referred to as a budget year. Fiscal years vary between businesses and countries. Nevertheless, the fiscal year is identical to the calendar year for about 65% of publicly traded companies in the United States.
Fiscal Year Fun Facts:
- – The first known fiscal year was in 1843.
- – Many universities have a fiscal year which ends during the summer, both to align the fiscal year with the school year because the school is normally less busy during the summer months.
- – Some companies choose to end their fiscal year on the same day of the week, such day being the one closest to a particular date (ex. the Friday closest to December 31). Under such a system, some fiscal years will have 52 weeks and others 53 weeks.
Fiscal Year and the United States Government:
The United States federal government’s fiscal year is a 12-month period beginning on October 1st and ending on September 30th of the following calendar year. The identification of a fiscal year is the calendar year in which it ends; thus, the current fiscal year is 2014 – shortened to FY2014. Prior to 1976, the fiscal year began on July 1st and ended June 30th of the following year.
To Sum It Up:
Just remember a fiscal year is any yearly period without regard to the calendar year, at the end of which a business, organization, government, etc., determines its financial condition.