BRITS should circle five key dates in their diaries this month for when a number of important changes will take place.
From bills to benefits and bailiffs to pensions, millions could be affected by new rules and legislation coming through in February.
We explain all you need to know about the changes and when they will happen
Pension ‘investment pathways’: February 1
A number of changes are being made in a bid to make it easier for Brits to navigate their retirement options from February 1 .
The FCA, the financial watchdog, has ordered pension providers to offer “investment pathways” which are supposed to guide you towards one of four different retirement plans based on your circumstances.
For people due to retire after February, this means you will be offered four different scenarios and offered a pathway that best meets your needs.
However, these will all be offered by your current pension provider, meaning you may not be getting the best solution on the market.
Shopping around and taking advice is the best way to find a retirement plan to make the most of your pensions savings.
Energy price cap revealed: February 5
Brits will be able to know whether they’ll be paying less or more for their energy bills in regulator Ofgem’s latest energy price cap, which will be revealed this Friday.
The cap, calculated by Ofgem, limits how much suppliers can charge you per unit of energy.
It ensures that suppliers pass on savings if costs to supply energy fall, the regulator says.
The cap is updated every six months and affects bill payers on standard variable tariffs.
The latest price cap saw millions of households save £75 a year on their energy bills.
Ofgem lowered the maximum price suppliers can charge for electricity and gas from £1,254 to £1,179.
Ban on bailiffs and evictions ends: February 21
In March last year, the Government slapped a ban on landlords preventing them from serving eviction notices.
Bailiffs were also been ordered not to carry out repossessions except in extreme circumstances.
This ban was in place until September last year when it was lifted, but then swiftly put into place again in November to prevent evictions taking place over the Christmas period.
However, this ban is due to be lifted again on February 21 in England.
After this, landlords can serve notices and families could be evicted from March 8 at the earliest, as at least two weeks’ notice is required.
If you can’t pay your rent, speak to your landlord as soon as you can.
They may be able to defer your payment, or to allow you to pay a smaller amount – but they don’t have to do this.
Scottish Child Payment: February 22
Scotland has launched a new child payment scheme which pays Scottish families £10 per week for each child under six.
The scheme is available for households that get certain benefits such as Universal Credit, income-related Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Housing Benefit, Income Support or tax credits.
You can apply now through mygov.scot but you will not get a decision until after February 15.
The first payments will start arriving from February 22, but the government has warned it could take longer due to high demand.
Self assessment tax return deadline: February 28
Self-employed workers have until February 28 to file their self-assessment tax return online to avoid a late fine.
The official deadline of January 31 was pushed back by an extra month to give Brits an extra month to get it filled in.
Self-employed workers are still being urged to hand in their tax return on time if they can though.
Interest, worth 2.6% of the outstanding amount, will continue to be charged on late payments from February 1 on any outstanding payments.
Waiving the penalty will only apply to late tax returns submitted online.
Those that are filed at the bank or by post after the deadline will still be subject to the fine.
Late payments submitted after the February 28 deadline will be fined as normal.
HMRC has already said it will accept Covid disruption as a reasonable excuse for people missing the deadline, although they’ll still be hit with a fine.
Customers will then have to appeal the penalty that’s been issued by proving they have been negatively impacted by coronavirus, which has caused a delay in making the deadline.
Usually, taxpayers have to pay a £100 penalty on the first late day.
If it’s delayed by three months, you may have to pay a penalty of £10 a day for a maximum of 90 days.
For payments late by six months, you’ll be fined 5% of the tax you owe or £300, whichever is greater.
This could rise even more if the delays are later than this – you can calculate how much your fine will be on the Gov.uk website.
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