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Should you be completing a Tax Return?

Under the self-assessment system, certain taxpayers are liable to complete a Return; if they are a Director of a company, if they are self-employed, have income over £100,000, if their expenses claim exceeds £2,500, or if there is untaxed income in excess of £2,500 or capital gains.  This year there is also a new category of taxpayer required to complete a return – those who are required to pay the High Income Child Benefit charge. This new tax charge is anticipated to affect approximately 1.2 million families where one or both of the couple earns more than £50,000.

If you fall into one of the above criteria, you do need to ensure that you obtain a tax reference and file a tax return for the year ended 5 April 2013 by 31 January 2014.  Failure to file a return on time does create huge penalty issues; a return three months late could result in penalties in excess of £900 even if the person owes no tax!

If you have received a 2012/13 Tax Return, then you have until 31 October 2013 if you want to complete a paper version; after that date you are obliged to file electronically by 31 January 2014.

Common areas where you might need some advice regarding the entries on your Tax Return:-

·         You are self-employed or a director of a limited company.

·         You want to claim for expenditure incurred personally in respect of your employment. This could include your professional subscriptions or for business mileage undertaken in your own car

·         You receive income from property. This could be from a ‘buy-to-let’ property, a holiday home that you let or even a lodger in your own home.

·         You have a variety of investment income sources, such as a managed investment portfolio, and differing rates of tax have been deducted at source.

·         You are a higher rate taxpayer and you regularly make Gift Aid donations or personal pension contributions so wish to claim additional tax relief.

We offer a free 30 minute consultation, so if you would like any additional information regarding the above or any other tax issues concerning you, then please contact us or visit us in our offices in Walmley Village

This article appears in Walmley Pages, a local magazine delivered free to homes in the B76 postcode.


Top 10 keyboard shortcuts everyone should know

CG Computing Tips –   Top 10 keyboard shortcuts everyone should know

1. Ctrl + C or Ctrl + Insert Copy the highlighted text or selected item.

2. Ctrl + V or Shift + Insert Paste the text or object that’s in the clipboard.

3. Ctrl + Z and Ctrl + Y Undo any change. For example, if you cut text, pressing this will undo it. This can also often be pressed multiple times to undo multiple changes. Pressing Ctrl + Y would redo the undo.

4. Ctrl + F Open the Find in any program. This includes your Internet browser to find text on the current page.

5. Alt + Tab or Alt + Esc Quickly switch between open programs moving forward. Tip: Press Ctrl + Tab to switch between tabs in a program. Tip: Windows Vista and 7 users can also press the Windows Key + Tab to switch through open programs in a full screenshot of the Window.

6. Ctrl + Back space and Ctrl + Left or Right arrow Pressing Ctrl + Backspace will delete a full word at a time instead of a single character.

Holding down the Ctrl key while pressing the left or right arrow will move the cursor one word at a time instead of one character at a time. If you wanted to highlight one word at a time you can hold down Ctrl + Shift and then press the left or right arrow key to move one word at a time in that direction while highlighting each word.

7. Ctrl + S While working on a document or other file in almost every program pressing Ctrl + S will save that file. This shortcut key should be used frequently anytime you’re working on anything important.

8. Ctrl + Home or Ctrl + End Move the cursor to the beginning or end of a document.

9. Ctrl + P Print the page being viewed. For example, the document in Microsoft Word or the web page in your Internet browser.

10. Page Up, Space bar, and Page Down Pressing either the page up or page down key will move that page one page at a time in that direction. When browsing the Internet pressing the space bar will also move the page down one page at a time. If you press Shift and the Space bar the page will go up a page at a time.

Article supplied by C G Computing based in Walmley Village, Sutton Coldfield.

This article appears in Walmley Pages Magazine, a local publication delivered free to homes in Sutton Coldfield post code B76

 


Snowflakes and Sore Losers

Sometimes February seems the longest darkest month of the year, even though we all know that it is the shortest. It is also the hardest for our native fauna to survive. Please remember the wildings outside your window and put out some feed and water for them. If at all possible feed little and often, keep feeding stations clean and provide fresh water. It`s only chicken feed but it`s always going cheep.

 

It seems that our battle to change the Boundary Commission proposals to merge us with Erdington was won. However, it appears that the spoilt kindergarten inmates that we elect to parliament to represent us had a fit of the sulks and will not even get to debate or discuss the proposals. All because the LibDems feel slighted over Lords reform, which WAS debated but rejected. This used to be called democracy. Can someone explain to me why we bothered. What a waste of emotion, mobilisation and demonstration of community in action, all for nothing. Baulked by a party with just 8-10 percent of the vote. They should all be ashamed.( I needed to say that !)

 

Imagine the cold stygian darkness of a January morning replaced by sparkly clear light. Waking to a quiet and cold morning after it snowed even I rose earlier than norm. The grim grey world became a wonderland to be enjoyed by families and friends who seemed not to mind being cold and wet but were rosy cheeked and happy out playing together. Even the publisher of this modest booklet was out with sledge and kids (yes, I saw you , Richard). Whatever the weather, get outside and enjoy our green or white world. eing cold and wet but were rosy cheeked and happy out playing together. Even the publisher of this modest booklet was out with sledge and kids (yes, I saw you , Richard). Whatever the weather, get outside and enjoy our green or white world.

This article appears in the February edition of  Walmley Pages Magazine, delivered free each month to homes in the B76 postcode in Sutton Coldfield.

Article written by Jeff Gilbert or Jeff’s Useful Shop, Walmley, Sutton Coldfield.

 


Fashion – Winter Coats 2012/2013

The most popular length this year is to the middle of the knee and midi. Faux fur is big; from full fur to a furry collar or hood, cropped or long, leopard printed or plain, fading out colour, shaggy….the choice is yours! Leather is popular, mostly seen as large block inserts or for collars, cuffs or hem. The puffer is back but discards its previous sleeping bag image as it appears with a more structured shape, embellished or with graphic print.

 

Oversized coat anyone? Exaggerated proportions with wide set shoulders are popular; ensure they are not ill fitting – sleeves should fall to just below the wrists. Warning – petite figures can look swamped in this style! But they do allow plenty of space to layer on snugly jumpers beneath if you don’t mind looking a little larger than usual.

 

Once again, the military style is king – choose woollen coats with leather trim, double breasted with shoulder straps or a classic trench coat. Fashionistas are loving this look which can be feminine and flattering. Coats without fasteners are also bang on trend; they won’t offer the best protection against the cold but you will look hot! Fasten with your own belt to warm them up or choose a coat with hidden fasteners.

 

This year’s colour palette is either subdued shades or brights; you can merge with the crowd or stand out. The classic black and white shades are always current – this year a black and white combo is also popular. Vividly contrasting colour blocks feature too, or choose a coat that plays on light and dark shades of the same colour. Imitation snakeskin print and animal print are hot and, for knitted coats, pastels are a great choice if you want to look smart and professional.

 

All ready to face the elements? Let it snow!

Sarah Hughes

This article appeared in Walmley Pages Magazine, delivered free to 8,000 homes in the

B76 postcode area, including Walmley, Sutton Coldfield and Minworth.


DIY for Beginners – Chalk Board Walls

Forget stuff pinned to your fridge –use your wall instead!  Use masking tape to define the area you want to paint.  Make sure it’s stuck properly so the paint doesn’t leak.  Using a roller, fill the area with chalk board paint making sure you get good, even coverage.  Two layers should be plenty.  Use a little paintbrush to get the corners perfect and then scribe to your hearts content.

 


Green is the colour

Looking back is traditional at this time of year, especially as we have a bright shiny new one to make a mess of. Such a lot of rain made it a difficult time down in the Valley. Our wildflower meadows missed the correct time for mowing and we have to hope that it has not too much effect on this new year`s display. Certainly the undergrowth burgeoned massively and it meant machete time around the Boardwalk and at various other points where the greenery impeded a walk or ride. Earlier in the year we had a go at the Himalayan Balsam that infests the brook and would hope to do the same this coming spring. There are those that would have us clear out the stream of its silt and and weeds but I think that the fact that fish and crayfish have returned are an indicator of good water quality. The long bright green weed that has white flowers is water crowfoot , again a natural sign of water quality. Also, we will be adding some extra, long awaited , litter and waste bins shortly as a joint effort between the Council and the Steering Group.( We pay for `em ,they get `em emptied!) The muddy gateway at Allendale Rd has at last received our attention and been meshed. Apart from work of course there has been much to enjoy and appreciate. The lush summer gave way to a spectacular autumn and now winter. Whatever the season there is always good reason to get out there and enjoy, `cos it is the users who make it what it is , ours.

Ours, also, is the Green Belt that surrounds us. It is under pressure from an increasing city population. I fear that the case for releasing some of it (400hectares) is too strong to resist. However, with the right response to the current consultation we should be able to mitigate its effect on our locale. If you have not already done so , please comment on the proposals before the end of January. Try to make objections objective and offer alternatives. Don`t be afraid to be a Nimby , because Nimbys care about where they live and how they live. Be heard and least say you tried. Your kids may yet thank you for it .

Jeff Gilbert

 

NIMBY or Nimby (an acronymfor the phrase “not in my back yard“)

 

This article appeared in the January edition of Walmley Pages Magazine,

a local magazine delivered free to over 8000 homes.


Child Benefit – will you be liable for extra tax?

Welcome to the Hill Lillis & Company Monthly Tax Tips.

You may not be totally aware of a tax change which comes into force from January 2013. The new rules, which are expected to affect approximately 1.2 million families, will apply to those in receipt of child benefit where the income of one or both partners exceeds £50,000 per annum.  In these circumstances, the partner with the highest income will be liable for ‘The Higher Income Child Benefit Charge’.  This is a tax charge which is computed on a gradual scale, whereby when the higher-paid partner’s income is above £60,000 the child benefit received by the family will be fully re-charged.

We foresee that difficulties are going to arise when there are changes in the family circumstances during a tax year (e.g. separation or divorce) or where there is uncertainty over who is the highest earner (perhaps because one partner receives occasional bonuses). It is worth stressing that the person who is expected to pay the charge is not necessarily the same person who receives the child benefit.

HM Revenue & Customs are investing a great deal of money and staff resources in pursuing this new ‘Tax’ and families could be liable to penalties and surcharges if they do not take the appropriate action to ensure their circumstances are notified when applicable.  This does mean having to register for Self-Assessment and file annual Tax Returns.

If your income is very close to the thresholds, you may wish to consider how you can reduce it for these purposes, perhaps by making additional pension contributions or Gift Aid donations.

Alternatively you may decide it is simpler to elect not to receive child benefit; however if one partner is a non-working carer, what will be the impact on their National Insurance record for future state benefits?

We offer a free 30 minute consultation, so if you would like any additional information regarding the above or any other tax issues concerning you, then please contact us 0121 351 6777 or visit us in our offices in Walmley Village, Walmley, Sutton Coldfield.

This article appears in Walmley Pages Magazine, delivered to over 8,000 homes and businesses, in Walmley and surrounding areas of Sutton Coldfield