Apparently it used to start on 25th March, which seems equally random until you realise that was also the start of the calendar year in those days. At least it was until 1752 when the UK switched to the Gregorian calendar to bring it in line with European countries. To avoid having a short tax year due to the number of leap days required to align the dates, the government added the difference to its tax year end. Or maybe it was to avoid having a riot as people were already agitated at losing around 11 days of their life and income, not to mention a birthday if they happened to be born between 3rd September and 13th September - these dates didn't happen in 1752. Whatever the reason, the final date after all the adjustments was 6th April - which still seems random.
One of the blessings (?) of modern life is the internet. It allows the government to accept online tax returns several months after the last date for filing paper returns. As it happens, today is the last day for online tax returns. Anyone who should file online but hasn't has another 2 hours and 6 minutes to put matters right and avoid a penalty. Of course, I am in the happy position of having filed my return ages ago... ok, an hour ago. I cut it fine this year. So I am writing this on a laptop on a desk covered by a sea of papers full of numbers. Writing this is a way of letting go of the tension that has been building all week as I hunted for the relevant form from the relevant year so I can enter the relevant number in the relevant box. Relevance is important. It's far easier to find last year's papers this year for some reason. Maybe if the government allowed us an extra year to file taxes we'd all be far less stressed and it would give the current paperwork time to come out of hiding.
I started this blog post idea by looking at quotes for procrastination - that's the name given to the art of cutting it fine on your tax form. There are all sorts of quotes though I did notice two distinct groups. There are the stern warnings by the likes of Abraham Lincoln:
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
And one by another American President: “Never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today.” ― Thomas Jefferson.
And there is the more relaxed approach such as this one from Mark Twain: “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”
I suspect they are all right. For now I shall leave this sea of papers where it is, I may even leave it till the day after tomorrow. One can have too much of a good thing after all - even taxes. I shall take note though. Getting things done and the weight off one's mind sure is a good way to help in relaxation. Better yet is discovering you are due a tax refund. Good night.