Fiscal Year - FY

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DEFINITION of 'Fiscal Year - FY'

A period that a company or government uses for accounting purposes and preparing financial statements. The fiscal year may or may not be the same as a calendar year. For tax purposes, companies can choose to be calendar-year taxpayers or fiscal-year taxpayers. The default IRS system is based on the calendar year, so fiscal-year taxpayers have to make some adjustments to the deadlines for filing certain forms and making certain payments. In many instances, even fiscal year taxpayers must adhere to the calendar-year deadlines.

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BREAKING DOWN 'Fiscal Year - FY'

The federal government's fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is denoted by the year in which it ends, so spending incurred on November 14, 2010, would belong to fiscal year 2011. Fiscal years are commonly referred to when discussing budgets and are often a convenient period to use when comparing a government's or company's financial performance over time.

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