A fiscal year is the 12-month period during which a business or other entity records its financial activities. It may coincide with the calendar year or may not. For many businesses their fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30 of the next calendar year. For the federal government it runs from October 1 through September 30 of the next calendar year. Businesses, particularly those whose activity varies strongly by season, define their fiscal year in the way that makes the most sense for them.