cearta.ie

the Irish for rights

March, that month of wind and taxes

Homer Simpson and Ogden NashIndoors or out, no one relaxes
In March, that month of wind and taxes,
The wind will presently disappear,
The taxes last us all the year.

Thar She Blows“, from Versus (1949) by Ogden Nash



In England, Lady Day – the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary on 25 March – was the traditional New Year’s Day. Taxes for the year, due at the end of the year, were therefore due on 24 March. In 1752, when Chesterfield’s Act, 1750 (facsimile here) moved England from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar (170 years after it had been promulgated), 1 January became New Year’s Day. At that stage, the two calendars differed by 11 days, so Wednesday 2 September 1752 was followed by Thursday 14 September 1752. However, although the calendar year moved, by virtue of section 6 of the Act, the tax year did not; and, as a consequence:

from 1753 until 1799, the tax year in Britain continued to operate on the Julian calendar and began on 5 April, which was the “old style” new tax year of 25 March. A 12th skipped Julian leap day in 1800 changed its start to 6 April. It was not changed when a 13th Julian leap day was skipped in 1900, so the tax year in the United Kingdom still begins on 6 April.

Hence, in the UK, where the tax year in the UK runs from 6 April in one year to 5 April the next, accountants and tax advisors are busy during March, that month of taxes, preparing the early April returns. In Ireland, we also used the year ending 5 April until 2001 when it was changed to match the calendar year, and the Budget moved from March to December (the 2001 tax year was nine months, from April to December). And, earlier this month, it was announced that the Budget would move back again, from December to October, so that it can be submitted to the European Commission for scrutiny to ensure that it complies with the EU law – though it does not look as though this will have any impact on the calendar fiscal year.

In the US, tax returns are due on 15 April, while 30 April is tax day in Canada (in Canada, it’s the anniversary of the controversial Meech Lake Accord of 1987; in many European countries, it’s Walpurgis Night). This makes April a more appropriate month of taxes than March, but to cavil with Ogden Nash runs the risk of being taken as seriously as Babbage often is for his correction of Tennyson; and in any event, Nash is right that, whatever month they’re due, the taxes last us all the year.

The US Tax Foundation calculates the day of the year the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year, and designates that day as tax freedom day . In the US, it usually falls in April each year. In the UK, it usually falls in May. In Canada, it usually falls in June. I’d hate to think what the equivalent date in Ireland is this year (in 2008, it was 30 March; in 2010, it was 27 April; but it will be much much later this year). In any event, whatever tax freedom day falls, Nash is still right: the taxes last us all the year.

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Welcome

Me in a hatHi there! Thanks for dropping by. I'm Eoin O'Dell, and this is my blog: Cearta.ie - the Irish for rights.

"Cearta" really is the Irish word for rights, so the title provides a good sense of the scope of this blog.

In general, I write here about private law, free speech, and cyber law; and, in particular, I write about Irish law and education policy.

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What I'd like for here is a simple widget that takes the list of feeds from my existing RSS reader and displays it here as a blogroll. Nothing fancy. I'd love a recommendation, if you have one.

I had built a blogroll here on my Google Reader RSS subscriptions. Google Reader produced a line of html for each RSS subscription category, each of which I pasted here. So I had a list of my subscriptions as my blogroll, organised by category, which updated whenever I edited Google Reader. Easy peasy. However, with the sad and unnecessary demise of that product, so also went this blogroll. Please take a moment to mourn Google Reader. If there's an RSS reader which provides a line of html for the list of subscriptions, or for each RSS subscription category as Google Reader did, I'd happily use that. So, as I've already begged, I'd love a recommendation, if you have one.

Meanwhile, please bear with me until I find a new RSS+Blogroll solution

Thanks,

Eoin.

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This blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. I am happy for you to reuse and adapt my content, provided that you attribute it to me, and do not use it commercially. Thanks. Eoin

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The image in the banner above is a detail from a photograph of the front of Trinity College Dublin night taken by Melanie May.

Others whose technical advice and help have proven invaluable in keeping this show on the road include Dermot Frost, Karlin Lillington, Daithí Mac Síthigh, and Antoin Ó Lachtnáin.

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