When Should the Government’s Fiscal Year Start?

One Congressman wants the federal government’s fiscal year to be changed to run concurrently with the calendar year.

The federal government currently has a fiscal year that runs from October 1 – September 30 each year for accounting purposes. Congress (theoretically) passes a budget to fund the government for this time period each year.

But why doesn’t it run in conjunction with the calendar year? One Congressman has asked this very question and is proposing legislation to change it.

Introduced by Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH), the It’s About Time Act (H.R. 5211) would change the government’s fiscal year to start on January 1. He says it’s all about increasing efficiency.

Turner said in a statement about the bill:

There is no reason the fiscal year should start on October 1 other than Congress has previously said so. This has done unbelievable damage to the Department of Defense because Congress clearly cannot manage to pass spending bills by our current deadlines. Changing the calendar year would save DoD three painful months of Congress failing to get its work done.

Turner is also the Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces.

Would changing the government’s fiscal year incentivize Congress to pass spending bills on time? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.