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|Tax and tax credits facts|
LITRG suggests people get ahead with dealing with their tax affairs before the summer holidays arrive.
The main areas to consider relate to tax for last year, keeping papers as they come in, and getting tax credits renewals out of the way well before the deadline.
Tax, tax credits and benefits often interlink, so LITRG always recommends that people look at their overall circumstances. The following topical reminders highlight points to consider if:
1. Might you be due a tax refund?
There are various reasons why you might have paid too much tax in the past. Some examples can be found under Students – Tax refunds and Pensioners – Claiming a repayment.
If you have to fill in a Self Assessment tax return, in most cases you will need to fill in the return to receive any repayment you might be due. There are exceptions to this, however. For example, you can claim a tax refund before the end of the tax year if you cash in a small pension and complete form P53.
Employees who stop work for a period of time might also be eligible for a tax refund which can be claimed using form P50.
If you have received a PAYE Tax Calculation (‘P800’) which shows you are due a refund, guidance on the LITRG website will help you to check it.
2. Are you a student working in the summer vacation?
If you are a student working only in holiday time and think you will earn less than your personal allowance over the whole tax year (£8,105 for 2012/13), ask your employer if you can complete a form P38(S) which allows you to be paid without tax being taken off your wages. National Insurance contributions may still be deducted depending on your weekly or monthly income.
Your employer does not have to allow you to use this form and may deduct tax in the same way as they would if you worked in term time, depending on your tax code.
3. In Self Assessment? Plan ahead for your 31 July tax payment
If you complete Self Assessment tax returns, 31 July is also the deadline for the second payment on account for 2010/11, if one is due.
If you think you will not be able to pay and cannot claim to reduce your payment, HMRC should respond sympathetically if you apply for time to pay before 31 July. They are more lenient to those who ask for more time in advance, than to those who miss the payment date and only then ask for time to pay.
4. Gift Aid donations – time for a review?
If you make payments to charities or Community Amateur Sports Clubs under the Gift Aid scheme, remember to keep records of how much you pay and when. This information will be needed if you complete a tax return or repayment claim.
To use the Gift Aid scheme, you need to pay at least as much tax during the tax year in question to cover the amount of tax on the gift. So if you make regular Gift Aid payments, for example by standing order, you might want to keep a watchful eye on them, particularly if your circumstances change so that you no longer pay tax. If you are a non-taxpayer or only pay at the rate of 10% on savings, HMRC could ask you to pay over the balance of the tax on your Gift Aid donation. Alternatively you could find your tax repayment is reduced if you have made Gift Aid payments. This can be a particular concern for pensioners.
In the past, LITRG has been assured by Ministers that if a non-taxpayer mistakenly used the Gift Aid system to make a donation, HMRC would try to recover the tax on the gift from the charity rather than from the donor. But one cannot rely on that assurance being followed in every case.
5. Tax credits
Renew by 31 July
It is important to consider tax credits if you have not already thought about them since the new tax year began on 6 April.
Existing claimants need to renew their claim by 31 July, but the earlier this is done, the better. As well as acting as a new claim for 2012/13, the renewals process also finalises your award for last year (to 5 April 2012). If you don’t know your income for 2011/12 by 31 July, for example because you are self-employed, you must still give HMRC an estimate of your income by that date. You then have until 31 January 2013 to confirm your actual income.
If you don’t currently claim tax credits, you should still consider your position. For example, you might now be entitled to them, particularly if your personal or financial circumstances have changed. Or even if they haven’t changed yet, you might consider claiming tax credits now in case your income drops during the coming year.
More information can be found in LITRG’s article – ‘Tax credits and the new tax year – changes and renewals’.
A version of this article with a number of useful links to can be viewed on the LITRG website.
About The AuthorThe Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) is an initiative of the Chartered Institute of Taxation to give a voice to those who cannot afford to pay for tax advice. LITRG comprises tax specialists from professional practice and the voluntary sector, from publishing and from HM Revenue & Customs, together with people from a welfare benefits and social policy background. Visit www.litrg.org.uk for further information.
Article Added Wednesday, 27 June 2012 | 894 Hits