With the introduction of pensions and the national minimum wage increase, there have been a few changes which have either already taken place or are about to be introduced which we feel you may benefit from knowing about, so here they are in summary.
Minimum wage increase
National minimum wage has increased 12p from £6.19 which was set in October 2012 to the new rate of £6.31 which will take effect from 1st October 2013, for those aged 21 and over.
The staging date for Auto Enrolment for our My Max contractors was 1st August 2013, with My Max 2 and 3 following in 2014.
We have been busy contacting all of our My Max contractors regarding the workplace pensions scheme provided by Nest. A small proportion of our contractors have decided to opt-in while the majority seem to be waiting to hear more when they are auto enrolled.
More information can be found in our pension FAQ document which is available in the 'useful info' section of the portal.
You may have heard about Universal Credit, which will eventually replace tax credits. Universal Credit is a new single monthly payment for people in work or out of work.
Universal Credit was introduced in parts of Greater Manchester and Cheshire on 29 April 2013. From October 2013 it will be gradually introduced in other areas across the UK.
Most people getting tax credits aren't affected at this stage. Even if you live in one of the areas where Universal Credit is introduced, your tax credit payments will continue as normal.
By 2017 Universal Credit will have replaced all of the following:
- tax credits - both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- income Support
- housing Benefit
One important thing to note is that Universal Credit will not replace Child Benefit. You can read more information regarding universal credits here.
HMRC launch a 'where's my reply' service
Are you sick of waiting for a response from HMRC?
If so, they have recently launched a new service which will provide you with a proposed date of when they will reply to you regarding an enquiry that you have raised with them. All you need to do is provide brief details of what your enquiry was regarding, choose from the drop down list as to why you initially made contact with HMRC, how you made contact and when you made the initial contact. The form will then give you an estimated reply date. You can access the new functionality here.
Keeping safe online with HMRC
HMRC will never send you an enticing email informing you of a tax rebate, nor will they ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email.
You should always be weary of the taxman that comes bearing gifts and our article can help you to spot those fraudulent emails.
If you have any doubt that an email you receive from HMRC is not genuine please do not follow any links, disclose any personal details or respond to it. Please forward it to HMRC at firstname.lastname@example.org then delete it.
What's coming next?
With only 10 weeks to Christmas, PayStream will be investing time on improving the usability of the portal so watch this space for future pre-Christmas releases.