Tax and tax credits reminders for September
Are you wondering if there are any tax or tax credits issues you should be thinking about? Maybe you have seen or heard something about tax return deadlines but want to know more?
Look no further! September’s reminders are given below.
Regular visitors to our website will have been following our series of articles reminding you each month of tax, tax credits, and some welfare benefits matters to consider.
Tax and Self-Assessment
Get to work on your 2009/10 tax return – paper filers only have two months left!
Those sending in a 2009/10 paper Self-Assessment return have to do so by 31 October 2010, but if you are filing online you have until 31 January 2011. Whether filing on paper or online, the sooner you get to work on your return, the better. We will soon be posting a separate article with more details, so look out for this.
Not received a tax return but think you need to fill one in? Act by 5 October
Self-Assessment tax returns (or a notice to complete one) for the year to 5 April 2010 would normally have been issued in April. If you have not received one, but you think you might have tax to pay for 2009/10 (for example, if you have a new source of income in the year such as rent from letting out a property), you must tell HMRC. The deadline for telling them is 5 October 2010. Telephone the Self-Assessment helpline on 0845 900 0444.
Have you been charged another 5% for late payment of 2008/09 tax?
If you still hadn’t paid tax you owed for 2008/09 by 31 July 2010, you might by now have received a notice from HMRC stating that you need to pay another 5% surcharge as a penalty for late payment. You have 30 days to appeal if you think that you should not have been charged the penalty or if you had a reasonable excuse for delayed payment.
If you had entered into a Time to Pay arrangement with HMRC on or before 31 July 2010, agreeing to pay late 2008/09 tax by instalments, you should not have received a 5% surcharge. If you have received such a notice in error, make sure you contact HMRC about it as soon as possible. HMRC’s Payment Helpline number is 0845 366 1204.
Staying on at school? Going to university?
Students should have a look at our August article for some reminders of things to consider at this time of year.
Did you miss the 31 July renewal deadline?
Read the section in our August article advising you what to do. If you have been notified of a tax credits overpayment, you might also find it helpful to read our guide.
Childcare costs – any changes to consider?
Our School’s out for summer article gave you information about claiming the childcare element of Working Tax Credit and whether changes in childcare costs over the summer holidays would have any impact. Similar considerations could apply now, for example if your children are starting school or are now eligible for a free nursery place and your childcare costs are changing as a result.
Born before 6 July 1950? Check if you can claim the winter fuel allowance
If you were born before 6 July 1950 and meet the other qualifying criteria, you can claim an extra payment towards your winter fuel bills this year of between £125 and £400. The exact amount depends on your individual circumstances.
More detail, including how to claim, is given on the Directgov website.
And the good news is, the payment is tax-free! So make sure you don’t include it with your state pension figure or other taxable state benefits on your tax return if you need to complete one.
Staying on at school or college? Check if you need to apply for Education Maintenance Allowance
Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is a tax-free benefit and pays up to £30 a week directly into your bank account if you stay on in education at school or college after you have taken your GCSEs. Most young people can claim EMA for two to three years depending how long your studies last. Entitlement depends on your household income and the rules can vary depending on which part of the UK you are studying in.
If you are starting a course, make sure you apply for EMA as soon as possible as payments can only be backdated by up to 28 days. More information can be found on the Directgov website – the main information is about the scheme in England so if you are studying in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, make sure you follow the correct link.
Are you being paid enough? Check your National Minimum Wage entitlement
From 1 October, National Minimum Wage rates increase. In addition to the rate changes, this year the age for qualifying for the main rate of NMW will be reduced from 22 to 21 and a new apprentice rate comes in.
The rates from 1 October 2010 will be:
£5.93 per hour for low paid workers aged 21 and over (current rate for those 22 is £5.80);
£4.92 per hour for 18 to 20 year-olds (current rate for those aged 18 to 21 is £4.83); and
£3.64 per hour for those under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age – broadly 16 to 17 year olds but exact rules differ for England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland (current rate is £3.57).
The Government has also announced that an apprentice minimum wage of £2.50 per hour will be introduced for those apprentices who are either:
under 19; or
aged 19 and over but in the first year of their apprenticeship.
The Directgov website provides more information on entitlement to the National Minimum Wage and how to work out whether you are being paid enough.