A guest post by @RetiredBroker
With only a few more sleeps until the start of the new tax year on the 6th April, I’m sure you are all busy arranging parties and sorting out family get-togethers. But while the emphasis will be all on the fun things like “Who will be the first to get a notice of coding” competitions, there is a serious side to the festivities. Taking a few moments to sit quietly and reflect on the true meaning of the New Tax Year season will be worthwhile, not only during this fun period, but throughout the year.
Here are a few things that you might want to consider.
Getting the annual “Notice of Coding” from the Inland Revenue is certainly one of the high spots of my year, and I’m sure I’m not alone! This brief little document tells you your tax code for the coming tax year, and from it your tax allowance, or the amount of money you are allowed to earn before having to pay income tax, is calculated. If you are employed, your employer will be told the code and it will be used to work out how much tax will be taken from your salary before leaving you with your “net” pay. It is important that this code has been applied correctly to you and is appropriate to your circumstances. If it is wrong you may pay too much tax, or even not enough! I’m sure you wouldn’t want that to happen! The government website has a whole section devoted to your Tax Code, and what to do if you think yours is wrong. As soon as you get your new code, check to see if it is right straightaway. Common reasons for it needing changing stem from quite mundane things usually, such as having more than one job. Find out more by clicking here .
A lot of benefits change at the beginning of a tax year, and it has often been said that navigating the benefits system is “a bit of a minefield”. There is no doubt that a lot of people miss out on money they could claim just because they are not aware of what they are entitled to. There are a number of ways of checking whether or not your circumstances entitle you to further financial help, one of which is this website. Very straightforward to use, it takes you through a simple set of questions and then produces a set of results that will indicate whether or not you are entitled to a particular benefit. Half an hour spent on it quietly with a cuppa could prove quite valuable to you.
You may have read my blog about direct debits and know I think of them as a necessary evil and should be kept under constant review. The start of a new tax year is as good as time as any to go back over your bank statements and check that any direct debits are still valid and you are not continuing to pay a company for goods and services that you have long since stopped using or no longer need. There is a Direct debit Guarantee which is intended to protect you against any problems you may encounter with them. Full details can be found here.
Make sure you are not paying any tax on your deposit savings if your taxable income is less than £17000., the interest is £1000 or less if you are a basic rate taxpayer or £500 if you are a higher rate taxpayer. The way interest on savings is taxed has changed considerably over the last few years resulting in most people not having to pay any tax on their savings. Again, at the risk of promoting how good the government websites are, I would suggest you take a quick look at their webpage on the Personal Savings Allowance, and make sure you understand what you are entitled to.
A final suggestion! Make sure all the various agencies you deal with such as the Inland Revenue and Benefits offices have up to date contact details for you. If you have moved, got a new email address or changed your phone number then it’s a lot easier for everyone if the people you want to deal with know about it.
I wish you a happy and prosperous New tax year!!