Financial diary dates for 2012

If you’re looking to sort out your finances this year, there are some key dates in 2012 which can help you get organised.

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Here’s our run-down of some of the most important financial diary dates and deadlines this year…

Online tax return deadline, January 31

More than nine million people are required to submit their 2010/2011 tax returns by this date.

You may have to complete a tax return if you’re self-employed or if you earn £10,000 or more from savings and investments or from property each year (before deducting allowable expenses). You’ll also be expected to fill in a return if you earn £2,500 or more from untaxed savings or investments or from property.

Those who receive a reduced age-related allowance, who have income from overseas, who earn more than £100,000 a year or who need to claim certain expenses or reliefs will also have to complete a tax return, as will anyone who is a trustee, has Capital Gains Tax to pay or lives or works abroad.

The October 31 deadline for filing a paper return has passed, so if you haven’t got your tax affairs in order already you’ll need to make sure you file online by January 31.

The Budget, March 21

Each year the Government sets out how it plans to balance its books by reviewing spending and taxes. Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed that the Budget 2012 will take place on Wednesday, March 21.

We have the Budget every year because some duties, like income tax, are annual taxes and need to be reviewed every 12 months.

Duty on fuel and alcohol often grab the headlines, but there are usually changes to spending on public services like education and healthcare which affect us all too.

Stamp Duty holiday for first time buyers ends, March 24

As of March 24, those looking to get on the property ladder for the first time will once again have to pay Stamp Duty, a tax levied on the purchase of a property.

Since 2008, first time buyers haven’t had to pay Stamp Duty on properties worth up to £175,000.

The ‘Stamp Duty holiday’ was introduced to try to boost the stagnant property market, but after being extended in the 2009 Budget the holiday comes to an end in March this year.

The amount of Stamp Duty you’ll pay depends on the value of the property you’re buying, as the duty is 1% of that value.

End/start of financial year, April 5/6

The financial year ends on April 5 and the new financial year begins on April 6. For savers, this means that the annual tax-free ISA limit will be increased.

ISA limits are adjusted each tax year according to inflation. The Treasury has set the 2012-13 limit to £11,280, up from £10,680 in 2011-12.

Up to half of your ISA allowance (£5,640 in 2012-13) can be saved in a Cash ISA allowing you to earn tax-free interest on your savings.

Alternatively, the full £11,280 can be invested in a stocks and shares ISA.Stocks and shares ISAs let you put your savings into a range of investments without having to pay tax on any profits you make.

They typically offer greater returns than Cash ISAs, but carry an element of risk as the value of your investment can actually decrease if share prices fall.

Tax Freedom Day’, May 30

Tax Freedom Day is the unofficial day when UK taxpayers effectively stop earning to pay their tax obligations and start earning for themselves. It is the first day of the year in which the country as a whole has theoretically earned enough to pay its annual tax bill.

This year, Tax Freedom Day is predicted to be May 30, based on tax revenue, according to the Adam Smith Institute.

Second tax deadline, July 31

If HM Revenue and Customs have asked you to make any further payments on account, July 31 is the deadline for payment. For example, on July 31 this year, you’d be making your second payment for the 2011-12 tax year.

Tax credits, July 31

July 31 is also the final deadline for renewing your tax credits if necessary. This ensures that you been paid and continue to be paid what you are entitled to.

Paper tax returns, October 31

If you need to file a tax return and you intend to do it on paper, your return must reach HM Revenue and Customs by midnight on October 31.

Autumn Statement, November

The Autumn Statement, formerly known as the pre-Budget report, is a kind of performance review where the Government assesses how well it is meeting its economic goals, as well as setting out plans for the future.

2011’s Autumn Statement included pay caps on public sector workers and changes to rail fares and fuel duty. No date has yet been set for the 2012 Autumn Statement, though it is also likely to be in November this year.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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