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What is a calendar year?

Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

Definition of Calendar Year

A calendar year is the 12 consecutive months from January through December. In other words, it is the 365 days (366 days in a leap year) beginning on January 1 and ending on December 31.

Example of Calendar Years

In the U.S., individuals file their personal income tax returns based on the calendar year of January 1 through December 31. Many U.S. corporations also have accounting and income tax years that coincide with the calendar year of January 1 through December 31. However, U.S. corporations may have an accounting year and income tax year that is not a calendar year.

Examples of Non-calendar Years

If a U.S. corporation has a non-calendar accounting year, it is referred to as a fiscal year.

For example, a U.S. corporation can have a fiscal year that begins on October 1 and ends on the following September 30.

Educational institutions often have fiscal years that begin on July 1 and end on the following June 30. A U.S. retailer can have a fiscal year consisting of 52 weeks that begins on the Sunday closest to February 1 and ends on the Saturday closest to February 1 of the following year.

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About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on

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