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Taxes. A word that can send shivers down even the most financially organised individual's spine. But fear not! Understanding some key concepts can simplify the process. This blog delves into the often-confused terms, financial year (FY) and assessment year (AY), in the realm of taxation, empowering you to navigate your tax filing journey with clarity.

What is a financial year?

The financial year, abbreviated as FY, refers to the 12-month period during which your income is earned for tax purposes. In most countries, including India, the financial year follows a standard format, typically starting on April 1st and ending on March 31st of the following year. This standardised period allows for consistent tracking and reporting of income across different businesses and individuals.

Example: If you receive your salary throughout the calendar year 2024, from January to December, for tax purposes, your income will be considered part of the Financial Year 2023-2024 (FY 2023-24).

What is an assessment year?

The assessment year (AY) follows the financial year and is the period when the income earned in the previous FY is assessed by the tax authorities. This is when you calculate your taxable income, claim deductions and exemptions, and ultimately pay any taxes owed to the government.

Here's the key difference

  • Financial Year (FY): This is the year you earn your income.
  • Assessment Year (AY): This is the year you evaluate and pay taxes on the income earned in the previous FY.

Connecting the dots: a timeline for clarity

Let's illustrate the relationship between FY and AY with a timeline:

  • April 1, 2023 - March 31, 2024: This is the Financial Year 2023-24 (FY 2023-24). You earn your income throughout this period.
  • April 1, 2024 - March 31, 2025: This is the Assessment Year 2024-25 (AY 2024-25). During this period, you will:

    • Calculate your taxable income based on the income earned in FY 2023-24.
    • Claim any eligible deductions and exemptions.
    • File your income tax return for FY 2023-24.
    • Pay any taxes owed to the government based on your income for FY 2023-24.

Additional points to consider

  • Both the financial year and assessment year follow the same 12-month format. They differ only in terms of their purpose.
  • Understanding this distinction is crucial for filing your income tax returns on time and avoiding any penalties.
  • Some countries might have different financial year and assessment year timelines. Always refer to your country's specific tax regulations for accurate information.


By understanding the difference between the financial year and the assessment year, you can approach tax season with a clear understanding of the timeline and your responsibilities. Remember, staying organised with your financial records throughout the year will make filing your tax return a smoother experience.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered tax advice. Please consult with a qualified tax professional for personalised guidance on your specific tax situation.

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