It’s That Time of Year Again – The Self-Assessment Deadline Looms!

The dreaded self-assessment tax return deadline is just a few days away, and many people are still a long way from completing it. The truth is it’s not the difficult beast that we all believe it to be: simply keep a sensible record of your income and business expenditure, and you have it all to hand. Are numbers simply not your thing? Ask a friend who is more mathematically minded – you don’t need to be an accountant to fill in what is a simple form. Let’s have a look at some important tips.

Meet the Deadline

The most important part of filling in an online self-assessment form is that you meet the deadline; for online applicants this is 31st January, 2013, and if you miss the deadline by even one day you may be made to pay a penalty of £100. This applies, you should be told, even if you do not owe any tax! Even later, and the fines become more harsh, so it is vital that you plan in advance. The online form is simple to fill in and there are useful guidelines at the HM Revenue and Customs website, so make sure you take a note of what is required.

What Do I Need?

You will need your user ID, the email address you have registered with HMRC, and your unique taxpayer reference, as well as your chosen password. The problem for many people is that as this is a once yearly exercise, it is easy to lose one or all of the above. Your unique taxpayer code should be at the top of any communication from HMRC – it may be labelled Tax Reference and is a 10-figure number, but without your email or ID it is very difficult to get hold of a forgotten password. There are helpful online help channels you can use.

Do I Need to Fill in the Form?

If you are self employed and even if you did not earn enough to pay tax you must fill in a self-assessment form; not to do so is to act fraudulently, and the penalties are very harsh. It really is not as hard as many make it out to be, and in simple businesses can be as easy as telling the tax office your income, expenditure and profit across the year. Avoid those penalties, and get it done right now.

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Banks Push FSA for PPI Deadline

According to The Times newspaper, the British Bankers Association (BBA) are in talks with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in order to secure a deadline for borrowers to reclaim their mis-sold PPI premiums. This comes as no surprise, as it was only in Nov 2012 that the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) director, John Criland, publicly called for a “line to be drawn under PPI”.  The scandal of wrongly sold payment protection insurance to millions of unassuming customers has rocked the banking world – both because of the damage to many bank’s reputations and integrity, and also due to the fact that their mistakes have caught up with them at a cost of billions of pounds in compensation payouts.

The costly affair is ongoing with over 1,000 borrowers signing up to reclaim back the money they are owed, on a daily basis. The total PPI compensation bill is currently set at around £13bn and rising.  It is this worry that has prompted the BBA to attempt to bring an end to the compensation process – rumours are they are urging for the deadline to be set for May 2014, as there is a real concern that the total compensation bill could exceed £25bn. The founder of MoneySavingExpert.com Martin Lewis has labelled it ‘a disgraceful proposition from the banks,’ quoting that ‘The FSA needs to laugh it out of the room.’

Both the BBA and the FSA are not as yet commenting any further on the issue.  It has emerged the banks propose to sweeten the blow by offering to fund a prominent advertisement scheme explaining to the general public how to claim back PPI and by what deadline.  Claims management companies who have been working to help customers reclaim their PPI  since the scandal arose are outraged by news of such a deadline.  A spokesperson for Lancashire based PPI Claims Company, PPIClaimsAdviceline.co, has described the behaviour of bank bosses as ‘shameful… The banks missold people PPI for years; years should be the timescale that those customers get given to reclaim what is rightfully theirs, not months.’

Not knowing that they even had PPI on their cards/loans/mortgages is a major factor in why the uptake on reclaiming payments was not instant and is still ongoing.  Although banks were supposed to have written to customers to inform them of what they might be entitled to back, many haven’t.  Previously people had three years from finding out they were eligible to process their claim.  Now, they may only have until next summer to get their compensation- regardless of when they discover their banks owed it to them.

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Tips on Finding the Right Debt Management Company for You

Paying off outstanding debts is definitely stressful for all. High interest rates make your debt payment even more difficult. If you delay to pay off your debts, then the situation gets even worse. This is such a pathetic condition. However, there is a way out for your debt problems. Debt negotiation services can solve your debt problems efficiently. Millions of people will agree on this. So, don’t hesitate anymore to get help of debt negotiation services and get rid of unfortunate situations invoked by due debts.

What benefits that debt negotiation services offer?

There are solid reasons behind the massive popularity of debt negotiation services. The 3 prime benefits which make debt negotiations services so gratifying, are pointed here:

1. Enjoy reduction in debt amount: Your debt amount gets trimmed down when the negotiation with your creditor goes well. As a result, it becomes easier for you to pay off your debts. You may start afresh with your finances as soon as you get over your unpaid debts.

2. You don’t need to do the negotiations yourself: Many people take this as a major benefit. Negotiation is not at all a simple work. If you are not that much sure of your convincing skills, then leave the responsibility to your debt negotiators. The professional skills and experience of your negotiators will help you to seal a profitable deal.

3. Get rid of the collection calls: Your creditor and collection agencies will not bother you over the phone anymore. This is a significant advantage you can expect from debt negotiation services. The harassing calls stop and debt negation becomes less terrifying.

The right way to choose apt debt negotiation service

If you desire to be free from debts, then you must choose the right debt negotiation service. There are 3 tips to choose the right option amongst plenty of debt negotiation services.

1. Go for non-profit organizations: It has been often claimed by experienced people, that best debt negotiation services are non-profit. It’s better to avoid for-profit negotiation companies. You only need to execute careful research. In this way, finding out a perfect non-profit debt negotiation service will becomes easier.

2. Check the authenticity of negotiation company: You must be sure about the trustworthiness of the debt negotiation company. Don’t forget to check with Better Business Bureau. Avoid negotiation companies that have any kind public complaint filed against them. You can even search online in order to be convinced regarding the status of the companies.

3. Ask for added facilities: A beneficial debt negotiation service must provide you with an overall package for your financial well-being. There must be competent debt negotiators to assist you properly through the negotiation service. If the debt negotiator fails to manage reduced debt amount for you, then the whole process becomes useless.

The list of benefits doesn’t end here only. Through debt negotiation process, you can gain your peace of mind all over again. Not only peace of mind, but your financial strength also returns. Many people will argue that it may leave a negative effect on your credit score. Nevertheless the damage is not beyond repair. A bit of resolution on your part can keep you away from troubles.

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Which Type of Life Insurance Policy Do You Need?

When you see how many different types of life insurance policy there are you will realise that it makes sense to think about the subject before choosing.

Sadly, many people spend too little time arranging their cover and this can result in the wrong type of policy being taken out. In order to avoid this happening to you the best idea is to learn the basics about the basic types of cover.

Term Life Insurance

This is a simple and effective type of policy for most people. It covers you for a set term and will only pay out if you pass away before this term ends. It tends to be good value, especially for young and healthy people who don’t need an especially high level of cover. Arranging a quote on the internet is simple and won’t take up much of your time.  This sort of policy will help your family pay the bills or pay off some debts if they are left without your income.

Mortgage Life Insurance

If you are thinking of buying a house with a mortgage then you will probably need to arrange this type of life insurance policy at the same time.  It is similar to the type of cover we just looked at but it will be tied in to the amount and the term of the home loan it is protecting. This simply means that the mortgage gets paid off if you pass away while you are paying it.

Whole of Life Insurance

This is a more comprehensive type of cover in that it pays out when the insured person dies, no matter when that is, provided that they have carried on paying the premiums up until then. It is generally a much more expensive way of getting life cover.

Critical illness Cover

This is a type of insurance policy which pays out if you are diagnosed with a serious medical condition but survive it. It is another extremely useful type of cover and when you are arranging life insurance quotes you might find that it is automatically included with the life cover.

Over 50 Life Insurance

Life insurance tends to be cheaper when you are younger but there is also a big demand for policies for more mature people too. To meet this demand there are some excellent, low cost insurance policies around for customers over the age of 50. These are easy to arrange and can give great peace of mind to someone who is worried about leaving behind debts or who wants to cover funeral expenses.

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New Years Gifts From The FSA

I for one am glad that the FSA has finally decided to flex it’s regulatory muscles and take some positive action against the banks. On the 31st December, new rules came into force banning commission payments to financial advisers and banks’ sales staff for the sale of financial products. Meaning that financial advisers will now have to charge their customers for their services rather than rely on commissions from the lenders for arranging the finance.

It was these commissions that many believe are to blame for the wholesale mis-selling of payment protection insurance. And today, the FSA has released a statement saying that they have fined the Co-operative Bank, £113,300 for delaying PPI claims.

They say it’s because the Co-op placed 1,629 claims on hold in the early part of 2011 pending the outcome of the Judicial Review. But they weren’t the only bank to do so and I hope they take action against those too.

Hopefully soon, and with better judgement than they used when dishing out fines for the mis-selling PPI, where the likes of Lloyds and RBS escaped being fined while companies like Land of leather were fined £210,000 – absolutely ridiculous in my opinion. Especially considering fact that Lloyds are the single largest provider of payment protection insurance policies in the UK and have had to set aside a whopping £5.3bn to repay their customers!!

If you’ve had PPI on any of your borrowing in the past 6yrs, then make it your new years resolution to claim back the money you’re owed. You can do it yourself for free, and we’ve provided a quick guide here.

But if you feel more comfortable using a claims company, I’d recommend www.PPIClaimCo.org, as they don’t charge anything upfront and will also claim back any unfair credit card charges for you too.

 

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