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Married Couples Tax Break

Prime Minister to announce tax break for married couples
It is thought that David Cameron could publish plans to introduce a tax break for married couples as early as November. Senior Downing Street sources have suggested that the Prime Minister will announce a new married couple tax break within six months and that he is planning on discounting Chancellor George Osborne’s advice not to introduce any tax breaks for the married this soon.

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Do I need to pay tax on my PPI refund?

Currently, anyone who has successfully reclaimed a PPI payment, is required to pay tax on any interest added to their claim.
HMRC have confirmed that no tax will be due on any compensation received as part of a PPI refund, only on the additional interest paid.

It is usual that PPI refunds automatically include interest and therefore, if you are thinking about claiming a refund on mis-sold PPI, you should take into consideration the fact that you may face a tax charge.

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HMRC Urge Tax Credit Claimants To Renew Early

All tax credit customers must renew their claims by 31 July or see their payments potentially stop. HMRC is already sending out renewal packs to all Tax Credit recipients along with the advice to renew as soon as the pack is received.
Around 5.8 million people will be posted the renewal packs between now and the end of June. By encouraging customers to renew as soon as they receive the packs, HMRC is hoping that fewer claimants will miss the deadline than the ten per cent who renewed late last year.

Those renewing a Tax Credits claim are advised to have the correct documents to hand when filling out the form, for example payslips, end of year P60 forms and childcare payment details.

Help and information on Tax Credit renewals is available from the tax credit website: or via the helpline: 0345 300 3900
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HMRC helplines to be made cheaper

Currently taxpayers, who ring HMRC helplines for advice regarding their tax affairs, have no choice but to use expensive 0845 numbers. Phone calls to these numbers often result in high phone bills, particularly for those using mobile phones, in these cases costs can be up to 41p a minute. This price per minute rate, combined with the fact that many using the helplines have reported being on hold for over 10 minutes, has been classified as unacceptable by some MPs.The average waiting time for the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) helplines is six minutes, including a two-minute recorded message.
In response to criticism from the Commons Public Accounts Committee regarding the cost of the phone calls and the  length of time customers have to wait to talk to an advisor, HMRC has promised to switch its helplines to a cheaper 03 prefix.Ruth Owen, director general of personal tax at HMRC told MPs; “We are renegotiating the contract now but we are going to move ahead of that because that renegotiation will take some time”. HMRC has assured the Commons Public Accounts Committee that all customer calls will be switched to the 03 prefix by the end of summer.
The first helpline that will be changed will be that which directs people for advice regarding Child Benefit, a number that will probably be used by increasing numbers of people over the coming weeks as the benefit is taken away from high earners. Tax credit enquiry lines already use the cheaper 03 numbers.
As well as changing the numbers of the phonelines, HMRC is setting itself a new target of making 80% of people wait no longer than five minutes to speak to a real person, including recorded messages. This target comes after a recent National Audit Office report calculated that taxpayers were losing £136m a year in call charges and wasted time.
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Poorest households affected by council tax rise

An anti-poverty think tank has told that it is the poorest households who have to pay more council tax now that the benefit changes have come into force.  The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said that more than 2 million low income families face an increase in the council tax they pay, and that this increase is, on average, £140 a year.
The abolishment of council tax benefit went ahead on April 1st. Ministers have called for councils to protect the most vulnerable from the increases but have left it up to them how they do this. Council tax benefit is being replaced by a new system - council tax support - and responsibility for it is being moved from central government to councils. At the same time, the total spent on the benefit is being cut by 10% - and each council in England has had to decide whether to pass on the reduction to residents.
Most councils have chosen to increase council tax bills for low income families.
The report, written by the New Policy Institute (NPI) for the foundation, found 232 local authorities had devised schemes that would demand council tax from everyone regardless of income; only 58 have retained previous levels of support for families who received housing benefit.
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HMRC uses YouTube to offer advice

21 new videos have been published on YouTube, by HMRC, offering advice and guidance to new and developing businesses. Included in the videos are subjects such as; how to register as an employer, how PAYE, VAT and Corporation Tax work, advice on record keeping and payroll systems and an introduction into trading with other countries. The video clips include case studies from real businesses.

Find out more here...
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A new campaign called The Property Sales Campaign has been launched by HMRC in the hopes of reclaiming capital gains tax from those have failed to tell the tax office about any profit they have made when selling properties that are not their main homes.
Sales targeted in the campaign include properties that were given to someone being sold as well as the sale of holiday homes and buy to let properties. In all these circumstances Capital Gains Tax should be paid on any profit made.

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How to make childcare work for you... has put together a few helpful tips to help you make the most of the childcare options that are available.

Every little helps so read more here
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HMRC Targeting London

A new HMRC taskforce has been launched to target self assessment tax cheats in London and the South East.
Taskforces are specialist teams that engage in high intensity investigative and enforcement work in specific areas of the UK, which have been identified as high risk.

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16 million people are left queuing for over 5 minutes to get through to HMRC!

Government ministers have blasted HMRC for their failure to answer customer phone calls within an appropriate length of time. The tax office has also been chastised by MPs who have said HMRC’s expectation that 20 per cent of calls to their call centres will take over five minutes to answer are not ambitious enough.

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