As most of you know, I’m a tax adviser in my working life. (Not a taxi driver, as one phone survey person thought…)
6 April marks the beginning of a new tax year here in the UK – income tax returns are calculated from 6 April one year to 5 April the next.
The reason for the strange tax year is down to the customs of 250 years ago. Up until 1752, New Year’s Day in Britain was on Lady Day – 25 March. This mean that 24 March 1662 would be followed the next day by 25 March 1663.
In 1752, Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar, which was designed to correct errors that had crept in to the old Julian Calendar, and is the calendar we still use today.
The Julian calendar, like a slightly broken clock, was running slow, due to there not being enough leap years. Eventually Christmas would have been in summer. (At least in the Northern Hemisphere.)
The solution was that Wednesday 2 September 1752 was followed by Thursday 14 September 1752.
(Russia didn’t adopt the Gregorian calendar until the twentieth century, which is why the October Revolution was in November…)
Although the calendar had changed, the tax authorities didn’t want to change the tax year, so the tax year moved from 25 March to 6 April.
And that’s why the British tax year starts on 6 April.
Which is a very long-winded way of introducing this week’s cocktail – the Income Tax.
1 msr dry gin
1/2 msr sweet vermouth
1/2 msr dry vermouth
Juice of half an orange (about 50ml)
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Add ingredients to a shaker with ice, shake, strain and pour into a cocktail glass.
The origins of the name “income tax” for this cocktail are obscure, but it tastes very nice – tangy, but with lots of depth of flavour from the vermouths and a bitterness from the Angostura (be careful not to overdo them though).