Changes to National Insurance Contributions in 2019

Changes to National Insurance Contributions in 2019

Last week, chancellor Philip Hammond delivered a speech announcing the new Budget from HM Treasury. He also claimed that these financial plans would result in the end of this long and exhausting era of austerity. However, it can be difficult to read through all of the information in the Budget to see if this is really the truth. Despite promises of more savings for many taxpayers, these savings may actually be lower than suggested.

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Could Your Kids Have Hundreds of Pounds in a Child Trust Fund?

Could Your Kids Have Hundreds of Pounds in a Child Trust Fund?

September 2018 will see thousands of children across the UK turning 16. These children, born from 1st September 2002, can then manage their own Child Trust Fund. Some parents might have forgotten about this savings account since its introduction in 2005. While the scheme ended on 1st January 2011, any children born between these dates should have some amount of money waiting for them in their own Child Trust Fund.

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How to apply for a blue badge

The blue badge scheme is to help disabled people or people who struggle with their mobility to get around and park closer to their desired destination. You can contact the blue badge helpline on 0843 178 3390 to find out more.

There are lots of reasons you may be able to qualify for a blue badge, here are some of them:

  • you are legally/registered as blind
  • you receive the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA)
  • You like in Northern Ireland or England and you have been given 8 points or more ‘moving around’ activity of personal independence payment (PIP)

To find out more qualifying reasons you can look at the disability rights UK website, the GOV website or you can call the helpline/your local council.

If your application is denied you council must tell you why you are not eligible and you can request to be reconsidered. If your mobility condition worsens you can reapply.

When you are applying you will need:

  • a passport photo
  • you national insurance number or NHS number
  • driving license number

How To Apply For A Blue Badge In Scotland

Applying for a blue badge in Scotland is practically the same process as applying in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can call the helpline on 0843 178 3390, speak to your local council or apply online.

There are a few qualifying reasons limited to Scotland and Wales:

  • You reside in Scotland and previously had an indefinite or lifetime award of higher rate mobility component of DLA which has been terminated following a PIP re-assessment.
  • You live in Scotland and have been awarded 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ activity or 12 points in the ‘planning and following journeys activity’ of PIP.
  • You live in Scotland and previously got a fixed-term award of the higher rate mobility component of DLA, have not been awarded the appropriate points at a PIP re-assessment (as stated in the above) and have asked for a mandatory reconsideration of the decision within the last year.

To apply you will need your national insurance number of NHS number, driving licence number and your passport photo.

Blue Badge Tracking

You can track the application of your blue badge application on the GOV website. When you have made your application you will be sent a tracking number that you will need to enter on the above website under ‘tracking reference number’. You will also need to enter your last name or your organisation name. Once you have entered these details you can click ‘find’ and your application will be pulled up with its current progress.

Blue Badge Application Form

The blue badge application form can be found here on the GOV website. Alternative ways of requesting the application forms include contacting the helpline on 0843 178 3390, as well as contacting your local council to find out if you are eligible or to request for the forms to be sent to your home in the post.

Inheritance Tax Threshold

Inheritance Tax Threshold

Inheritance Tax is the tax on an estate of someone who has died. An estate can include property, possessions and funds, and Inheritance Tax must be paid on estates above the current £325,000 threshold. In April this year, a new threshold will be announced, alongside a “family home allowance” which will mean that families who inherit an estate will only have to pay Inheritance Tax on estates over the price of £350,000.

What is the Inheritance Tax Threshold

The current tax threshold for Inheritance Tax is £325,000. However, this is set to change within the next couple of weeks. It’s thought that this new change will bring down the inheritance tax cost for all estate sizes, even those that include family homes. This will eventually make it easier for children of deceased parents to inherit an estate without having to pay a large inheritance tax in order to do so.

Smaller estates will still be exempt from inheritance tax, meaning that estates under the £325,000 limit will not be taxed by the government. If you leave your estate to a partner, both spouse and civil partner alike, this will also mean that they are exempt from paying council tax. The same goes for if you leave your estate to a charity. If you’re leaving your estate to your children, they will only need to pay Inheritance Tax on £425,000.

Usually, when an estate is passed on, the deceased will have appointed an executor of the will. This is the person who will have to liaise with HMRC on paying the tax.

Inheritance Tax Threshold Married Couples

If you’re married, and you decide to leave your estate to your partner, you will not need to pay the inheritance tax. As of 2015, the same can be said for children and grandchildren who will inherit from their family members. There is no limit on when you can marry your partner, and there is no need to worry about having your marriage questioned if you marry before you die. If the marriage is legal, then it is binding. If you are leaving your estate to a partner who you are not married to, or not in a civil partnership with, they will have to pay inheritance tax if the estate comes to the value of £325,000 or over. If you would rather your partner didn’t pay any tax on your estate, you can find more information on how to reduce your inheritance tax below. You will find that there are ways to reduce the tax on your estate by “gifting assets” to friends outside of the immediate family.

Inheritance Tax Threshold Increase

Increases are due to be made in April this year, allowing for buy to let properties to be added on to an estate. This can potentially change the amount of any potential estate you may have when you pass away. If you have any buy to let properties in your possession, you can talk with a solicitor to see if any inheritance tax will be added to your estate when you pass away.

Reducing your Inheritance Tax

One way that you can reduce your Inheritance Tax, is by gifting assets to loved ones and friends. Each year, an individual can gift up to £3000 worth of property to members immediately outside of the family unit. Doing this will reduce any inheritance that they may need to pay on your estate after you have passed away. This can be done for married couples, those who are leaving their estate to friends, or for those who are leaving their estate to estranged or adopted children.

If you are unsure of how much potential inheritance tax your family may need to pay, we suggest you speak with a member of HMRC as soon as possible. You can also talk to your solicitor if you are worried about your estate or about its potential tax implications.

What Is My Maternity Leave Entitlement?

When you are pregnant and you are about to have your baby you should be eligible for statutory maternity leave, statutory maternity pay, paid time off for antenatal care as well as possibly some extra help from the government. You can discuss any of these things with the maternity allowance head office on 0843 178 4192.

How Much Maternity Leave Are Mothers Entitled To?

Statutory maternity leave is 52 weeks which consists of the first 26 weeks (ordinary maternity leave) and the last 26 weeks (additional maternity leave) although you do not have to take the full 52 weeks but after the birth of your baby you must take at least 2 weeks off or 4 weeks if you work in a factory.

The earliest start date of your maternity leave is 11 weeks before the due date of your baby. Your maternity leave will automatically start the day after the birth of your baby or if you’re off work due to a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before your babies due date (Sunday to Saturday).

To be entitled to statutory maternity leave you but be an employee (not a worker) and you must give your employer appropriate notice.

Am I Entitled To Tax Credits On Maternity Leave?

When on maternity leave you may be eligible for child tax credits as well as some other benefits to help you provide for your new baby. You can check which benefits you could be eligible for you can contact the maternity allowance head office on 0843 178 4192. If you receive working tax credits you will continue to receive working tax credits for 39 weeks after you start your maternity leave.

Bank Holiday Entitlement On Maternity Leave

If your work contract allows for paid public holidays (such as Christmas and bank holidays) these should continue during your paternity leave as a part of your holiday entitlement.