Friday, 22 January 2016

How To Lower The Tax Bill

With money being tight for everyone at the moment, there are many things that we can all do to reduce our personal tax bill, and it's not as difficult as you might think. With many companies being able to offer refunds in the thousands, it can only take an hour of your own time, not theirs, to claim back more than you could ever expect.

One of the easiest things to do is check your payslips to make sure you're getting full use of any personal allowances that you may have, of which the 2011/12 allowance for earners under £100,000 is £7,470. This can be important if you're earning just over this amount, as your allowance will be reduced by £1 for every £2 you earn, which if earning between the £100,000 threshold and £115,000 could mean that you are paying more tax than you should be, technology doesn't always get it right. To be given an extra £7,470 on top of what you were expecting can mean a huge difference between that new car or luxury holiday and not being able to afford it.

It's also important to check your tax code, which for most in the last year should be 647L. If you've been paying National Insurance at BR (Basic Rate), it's important to lodge a claim as soon as you can to refund any extra that's been paid. This is especially important if you've switched jobs within the tax year, or run two jobs, which is becoming more and more popular. BR should be an emergency tax code, and you should always make sure that you're placing a claim for the part of the year that this was used.

If you're a non-taxpayer, it's important to give any financial institutions that you work with an R85 form, which should be sent back to HMRC. This will ensure that you're not paying tax on any interest that is earned from any accounts. It is also worth making sure that you take a separate letter to banks or building societies asking the assistant to check the forms and sign to say that they have been received, just incase the form goes missing.

If you have paid out expenses for the company, for instance petrol for business travel or professional membership fees and these haven't been reimbursed, it's important to make sure that this is noted on your tax return, as you are entitled to claim the tax back for this. This can even include the 'extras' such as business car insurance, which can almost double a premium, as the extra expense can be claimed. The mileage rates are 40p per mile for the first 10,000 miles, then 22p after this, which can add up surprisingly quickly.

If you're over 65 and still working, it's important to make sure that any extra allowances, such as age allowances and marriage allowances have been added to your allowances. You should also be paying no National Insurance. If you're under 65, you should be paying no tax or NI on any money that you're saving into a pension, which with the HMRC extra allowances, it's double important to make sure that you're saving the most for your future.

Although it may seem a long way off, it's worth making sure that you pay as little inheritance tax as possible, of which many people are now finding that the value of their property alone can be worth more than the threshold. It's worth paying to seek independent financial advice on this from a qualified IFA, as they will be able to guide you best in your own circumstances.

Friday, 8 January 2016

landlines v mobile

It's hard getting used to not having a reliable land line phone sitting patiently nearby. But if the truth be known, many seldom use the land line and rely on their more convenient cell phone. Why not weigh the options and settle down for one or the other and save a bundle of money. Of course, that may be a decision that must be considered carefully, but possibly the biggest problem will be getting over not having that clunky land phone around. The cell phone may not be useful for some, however, and getting rid of it may be more practical. And still yet, both may be necessary and that option must be clearly defined. Doing that will do away with guilt over too many phones and will quiet the emotional overcharged.
Land phones are more reliable

Land phones, those clunky little technological wizards that have been technologically changing since Alexander Graham Bell invented them March 10, 1870, are becoming outdated; yes they are outdated, but still useful. Yet they cannot be carried in one's pocket and no one can text message on them, but they are everywhere and can go places cell phones cannot. Neither do they have to be recharged about every two days and they seldom rudely cut you off without warning when their battery is on empty or when you have entered into territories they cannot enter. And for the most part, they are easier to hear and to speak in to.

Until more recent portable phones existed, land lines with their wall jacks and their cords that reached only a few feet with their wall jacks and chords that reached only a few feet. Phone users had to stop whatever they were doing and run to the phone; that was a nuisance. Yet one unmistakable advantage to this type of system was freedom from telephones. One could opt out for a few hours and no one, friend, neighbor, parents, husband, wife or employer could find you. Of course, individuals who were of the more responsible sort would have a way for them to leave messages, a kind of forerunner to the cell phone's text messaging.
Cell phones are here to stay

When Martin Cooper's cell phone, which was invented in 1973, hit the market in 1983, the world of telecommunications never looked back. Motorola, the manufacturing company owned by Google, knew they were to have the last word in telecommunications. It appears that way at least, but still the larger and older phones are still visible on business desks. However, cell phones are hot items and keep changing and getting more involved. In fact, they are now probably the most useful 'toy' around.

One of the more useful features of cell phones is safety and convenience. As an example, when on the road and the car stalls, it's simple to call for a tow truck. Formerly one had to wait for help from passersby to alert someone that help was needed. Another advantage, parents can rest assured their child can call them when they are having trouble at school or need to be picked up. Useful, useful, useful are written all over these gadgets in so many ways, but as with everything, they too have their downside.

Cell phones are a waste of time in many instances. How many times are they used to combat boredom, or to have something to do as a pretense to get out of chores or against the problem of being alone and having to think? In that respect, they are over used as are most technological gadgets. It's up to the owner and the one in need to see that they use this newest communication medium correctly and wisely.
Telephone problems in general

Having others know where one can be reached at any time of the day is both good and bad. Others trying to sell their products get their long list of potential customers in various ways from companies selling addresses and phone numbers. These companies gather data by making sure telephone numbers are listed on order forms and collecting them during the course of business. What then happens is chaos for the phone user who grows weary from getting those numerous solicitations over their phone. And most annoying of all, are calls at dinner time.

There's really no way around such ruthlessness among those trying to make money any way available, but the owner of the phone has a few options. One of these is stop making their phone number available to everyone that asks for it. As an example: You are placing an order for an item and expect not to be using this company on a regular basis. Why give them your phone number? You pay the amount, give them an address and if they have a problem and need to get your attention, why can't they send you a snail mail note?

Once upon a time, in the not too distance past, this was the only means of communication, and it seemed to work well. In other words, be stingy with your telephone number. The cost privilege and the modern convenience of cell phone service is high. And if it is chosen, it should be a useful and legitimate service. Elderly people are especially vulnerable; they get numerous calls from solicitors who try to sell them on various items they don't need or don't want. It makes no difference to them that their Medicare insurance will pay for it; their only thought is to be left alone. They may think to themselves, "If I need such and such an item, I will call you. I may be old but I am not stupid, nor am I greedy."

As a final thought, each person must decide if they need to be available every minute of the day or night. Do their lifestyles need such means of being available to others? Weigh the costs of not having one or the other phone against lifestyle and see if getting along without the huge costs of maintaining both is possible. If not, sure, give it a trail run. There will be no problem of reinstating the phone, either one, if doing without is too problematic. There are not too many places to hide anymore, but look carefully as there may still be a household nook available after removing an aggravating phone line.