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Stamps at last year's prices this Christmas
Royal Mail is sending a leaflet to all households in the UK to let people know about its Christmas stamp scheme.
If you get Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Pension Credit, you'll be able to buy up to 36 First and Second Class stamps at last year's prices - 46p for First Class and 36p for Second Class. You'll be able to take up this offer between 6 November and Christmas Eve.
When you go to buy your stamps, you'll need to take with you a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). If you have a Post Office Card Account and your benefits are paid into it, you can take your card statement instead.
Royal Mail has started sending this leaflet with a voucher to all homes from 8 October.
For more information about Royal Mail's Christmas stamp scheme, go to the Royal Mail website at www.royalmailgroup.com.
Don't miss the 31 October tax return deadline
If you're self-employed or have other income that isn't taxed directly through your pay, you normally have to send in your tax return to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) every year.
There are two separate deadlines for the tax return - one for the paper return and the other if you do it online. If you are submitting a paper return for the tax year ended 5 April 2012 (tax year 2011-12), the deadline is 31 October.
It was previously either 30 September, if you wanted HMRC to calculate the tax for you, or the end of the following January, if you wanted to calculate the tax yourself.
But for the last few years, if you have missed the 31 October deadline for sending a paper return, then you must do it online. If you think that you will miss the deadline for sending in your paper return, you need to plan to meet the deadline for doing it online, which is 31 January 2013.
If you have submitted your tax online in previous years, you will already have a Pin code for the HMRC system. If you do not have a Pin, you will need to register on the HMRC website. The Pin code will be sent to you by post and HMRC advises that you should allow seven days for this to arrive.
If you miss the deadline for sending tax returns, either for paper or for online submission, there are potential penalties. As soon as you are late in sending in your return, you will be given a penalty of £100. This is automatic. In addition to the £100 penalty, the following penalties apply for tax returns sent after 1 November 2012 for paper returns, and 1 February 2013 for online returns:
- if you send your return three months late - you will start receiving automatic £10 a day penalties. This rate applies for 90 days, to a maximum of £900
- if you send it six months late - £300 or 5% of the tax liability, whichever is higher. This is in addition to the penalties above
- if you send it 12 months late - £300 or up to 100% of the tax due; again this is in addition to the penalties above.
You may also receive penalties for late payment of tax, in addition to penalties for sending your tax return late.
HMRC may accept an appeal against a penalty for sending your tax return late, if you had a reasonable excuse.
Nuisance calls and messages
Ofcom, the telecoms industry regulator, has launched a guide about what to do if you get nuisance phone calls, faxes, text messages and email, and if you get silent, scam or abusive calls.
The guide includes what you can do if someone rings to sell you something and you want to stop the calls. For example, you can ask the organisation to remove details from their database and register with the Telephone Preference Service.
It also explains that you can complain to the Information Commissioner if you keep getting recorded messages from organisations asking about claims for personal injury and services from debt management companies.
Ofcom’s Consumer guide on Nuisance Calls and Messages
On 1 October, the Green Deal, the government's energy efficiency scheme comes into force.
The Green Deal allows you to get energy efficiency improvements to your property without having to pay up front. You can pay for the improvements by instalments on your electricity bill, for a period of up to 25 years. Paying through your bill is like a loan - but for your property, not the person.
The Green Deal is designed to ensure that you won't pay back more than you are saving on your energy bill. This is called the Golden Rule. However, this is not a guarantee.
The actual level of your savings will depend on how much energy you use to heat your property and the future cost of energy.
You can find out about the Green Deal in a number of ways, including through local builders, the supermarket or your energy supplier.
From 1 October, you can have an assessment of your home. You may also receive quotes for the Green Deal. However, you will not be able to complete the contract for the Green Deal nor have the work started until the end of January 2013.
Click here for more news
- 22.01.13 HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster go into administration ...more
- 12.10.12 Stamps at last year's prices this Christmas ...more
- 12.10.12 Don't miss the 31 October tax return deadline ...more
- 12.10.12 Nuisance calls and messages ...more
- 12.10.12 Green Deal ...more
- 05.10.12 The National Minimum Wage goes up ...more
- 24.09.12 Not too late to renew your tax credits ...more
- 24.09.12 Squatting becomes a criminal offence ...more
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