Important Dates in 2012

Jan 31st

This is the deadline for all higher rate tax payers, self-employed people and those with more than one source of income to file an online tax return and pay any outstanding tax for the year ending April 2011.

Failing to meet this deadline will result in a £100 penalty charge, whether or not any additional tax was actually owed. In order to complete a tax return you’ll need your latest P60, or a record of self- employed earnings, bank statements, pension statements and details of any other income. HMRC’s website and phone lines can get very busy around the deadline, so it’s best not to leave until the last minute.

March 21st

The release of the budget is one of the most important days on the financial calendar, while it is still a little early to start guessing at its contents we would recommend having tax planning and other measures in place well beforehand to avoid any unwanted surprises.

March 24th

First time buyers have until this date to complete their purchase and avoid paying stamp duty. Under current regulations first time buyers don’t pay anything on properties priced between £125,000 and 250,000. Once the stamp duty holiday ends they will have to pay 1 per cent of the sale price to HMRC.

Several schemes designed to assist first time buyers are being thrown around Parliament currently, it remains to be seen exactly what help will be available in 2012, however a government scheme offering 95 per cent mortgages on newly built properties seems likely.

April 5th

Changes to the lifetime allowance rules come into force on this day, the maximum amount that can be saved in a pension fund will fall from £1.8m to £1.5m. Those who have already retired will be able to protect the higher limit as long as they apply to HMRC to do so.

Those who do not apply for the higher limit protection will have savings above this amount taxed at 55 per cent; however, once protection is secured there are strict limits on how much extra can be invested in a pension. This could be a difficult decision for many high earners, so professional advice is a must..

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