18/01/2014 Your Money


18/01/2014

Weekly round-up of news about mortgages, savings, credit cards, bank accounts and pensions, plus helpful tips and advice. With Declan Curry.


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harassed by him. Now, on BBC News, it is time for

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this week's Your Money with Declan Curry.

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Hello and welcome to Your Money. Your weekly guide to making the most

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of your cash here on every week on BBC Television. Just days left to

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fill up your tax form online. If you get child benefit and you are doing

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a tax form for the first time you might have to act today. We have

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some advice. Clever savings using your smartphone to control your

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central heating. Brian Milligan finds out if it saves us money. Top

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tips on getting more from our savings. Well, let's start with a

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look at savings and how we get more from them and how we make them work

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harder for us in this New Year. One of your resolutions maybe to have

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been make the most of your money. Anna will make sure that's one of

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the New Year's resolutions you maybe able to keep. Welcome to Your Money.

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Some basic things to consider. Interest rates for savings accounts,

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really, really desperately low. Particularly in accounts where you

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have had money in for a while and you have neglected it and the bank

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has neglected it? There is two things there. One is where you had a

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bonus rate on an account. So the rates may have been paying for than

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2%, but with some bonuses it is dropping to 0.1% and also just in

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general, lots of rate cuts over the last year. We have had over 1400

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cuts to existing savers accounts. So you have to keep a close eye on your

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savings. You have to be sharp eyed and keep an eye on the tanl and keep

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an eye on what's on offer elsewhere and don't be shy about moving your

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money. It is your money and you are allowed to move it? You have got to

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vote with your feet. Don't just sit-in one of these accounts paying

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you no interest. And there is no bonus for loyalty now? Not really.

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Sometimes there are, but you have to keep an eye on that. Don't assume

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because it has a word li preferential or loyalty. Check out

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what's available and find the best account for you. Another way of

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making your savings work harder is by paying as little tax on them as

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you are legally allowed to. Of course, most people are allowed to

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get a tax efficient ISA account, but if you want to make the most of

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that, in this tax year, there are only a few months left? That's

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right. It is up to the 5th April in this year. So you have got to do

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that. If you haven't used your ISA allowance you have half of your ISA

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allowance can go into a tax savings account. Why not get it tax-free. It

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is a use it or lose it allowance. Exactly. There is a new one after

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April? Yes, every year. Again, the interest rates on some of the ISA

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accounts that are for cash are low particularly if it is an old ISA

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that you opened several years ago and you haven't touched the money

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since it went in there, you are allowed to move that to a better

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performing account? Not all of the ISA are the best ISAs will accept

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transfers, but look for one that does and the key thing if you are

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transferring your ISA is you let the new provider pool the money. Don't

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cash it in or you lose your allowance. Child Trust Fund some of

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this emhave been rubbish? It became a forgotten account because the

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junior ISA was brought in. The good news is that hopefully as long as

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nothing changes from April in 2015, you will be able to transfer from a

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Child Trust Fund into a zwrunior junior ISA, you can get 2.65% on the

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best Child Trust Fund so it is worth having a look at that. Some bank

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accounts will give you more, but you have got to promise, you won't make

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that many withdrawals? That's a key thing. We have seen accounts in the

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past with bonus rates and the bonus rates as we talked about earlier,

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the rate can drop, but also a lot of the best buys now restrict the

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amount you can take out. If you take out too many times, the rate will

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drop. If you want more for your money, you have to agree to lock it

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away for a longer period of time? That's right. You get over 3.5% if

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you lock it for seven years. That's a long time for not a really great

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rate. Have a look at what the best rates are and find the best accounts

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for yourself. Thank you very much for joining us.

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Speaking of the big bucks, how often have you seen one of these? It is

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the old ?50 note. If you have got one, you have got to spend it, bank

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or change it by the end of April as it has been withdrawn from

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circulation. Shops can refuse to accept it. Speaking of banks, over

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300,000 of us switched our current accounts to a different bank in

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October, November and December last year. That's a fifth more than the

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same months in 2012. Switching is so much easier now. The banks will keep

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an eye on our old account for a year. If they make a mistake, they

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are supposed to pay for charges or interest. More information on the

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Payment Council website. If you want to pay for something in

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the shops using your mobile smartphone, five banks say they will

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let you do it. Pay day lenders are to get more information about us if

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we apply to borrow their money at their massive rates of interest. It

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should mean they won't give loans to people who are already up to their

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necks in debt. And it has become cheaper to rent a

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home in England and Wales. The property website LSL says the

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average cost of renting slipped by 1% from November into December. Most

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parts of England and Wales saw rents fall.

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As well as using smartphones to buy stuff in the shops, how about using

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one to control our central heating? As Brian Milligan found out, there

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is an app for that and it could save us money. Using GPS technology,

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smartphones can track your movements such as your journey home by knowing

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exactly where you are, your phone can keep why you are heating

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switched off until you need it. When you are an hour away, the system

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begins to come to life. Knowing when you are likely to alive and taking

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into account the forecast temperatures, the boilers ramps up.

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Phone will sense your actual approach so by the time you come

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through the door, the house and the hot water are warm. The owner of

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this house paid ?250 for the system just two months ago, but he is

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noticing the savings. It is saving us, I think, probably about 20 to

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30%. It is difficult to say because I haven't had a full quarterly bill,

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but I have worked it out based on the daily figures it gives me and it

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should pay for itself within three years. Other systems offer greater

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savings, but they are more expensive to install. In this house for

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example, you can actually control the temperatures in individual

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rooms. All from your phone and from anywhere in the world! Why heat your

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sitting room first thing in the morning for example when no one is

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using it? Well, with the help of these wireless controls on the

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radiators, you can shut off the heating in here. In fact by doing

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so, its makers claim you can save up to ?400 a year. Independent experts

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say such savings are possible, but mostly for people who live in large

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properties. Comparing someone who lives in a large detached property

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which might be leaky and use a lot of heating to someone in a one

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bedroomed flat, the person in the larger property will have a greater

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saving potential. For the first time, your lifestyle

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could have a bearing on the amount you can save. The more you are away

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from home or the more hectic youred schedule, the more the savings could

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be. Just chatting with Anna while Brian

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was giving us that report. There was one other thing she said and it is

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something we might want to look at and that's how the interest that you

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earn on current accounts has stepped up. This is somewhat of a surprise

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because current accounts were the Cinderella of banking. You didn't

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expect to get a lot for your money at all, but Anna says she has been

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looking at the tables and there is the one, two, three account from

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Santander paying 3%. You need to put in ?500 and you are only allowed two

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direct debts, but 3% is not to be sniffed at given the rate of

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inflation and the Nationwide, the building society, building societies

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say because they don't have share Holders, they are -- shareholders,

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they are able to offer better deals. A Nationwide account as long as you

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put in ?100 are paying 5%. That's an interesting change in terms of the

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interest you can get that current accounts are back in the reckoning.

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That's something we might want to take a look at in future programmes.

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So we will do that. Are we going to talk about tax? Yes, we are.

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The reason we want to talk about tax is because many people are finding

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this month that they have to sent in a tax form for the first time. If

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you are well off and you are claiming child benefit, even if you

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have never filled up a tax form before that has changed. The rules

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have changed on that. If you are a couple getting child benefit and one

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of you is earning over ?50,000 a year, you have to register, fill up

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the tax form online and pay any tax that's owing within the next few

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days. Tina Riches, splendid name for a tax expert, welcome to Your Money.

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This may catch a lot of people on the hob. If you are in this group of

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people who are getting child benefit and there is someone in the couple

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who was earning more than ?50,000, who has to fill out the form, the

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high earner or the person getting the benefit? It is the person with

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the higher earnings. You have to look at the family as a whole, and

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where there is a family with someone receiving child benefit, if one of

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them is in receipt of income, not just earnings from a job, but all

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your income, over ?50,000, you are affected by that, which means...

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That is the magic number, ?50,000. If you have a couple were both of

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you are earning but both earning less than 50,000, you find, you

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don't need to fill up a form just because you are getting child

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benefit. Quite right, yes, Declan. And the deadline is the 31st of

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January, of course, but if you have never done it before, you might have

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to act this weekend, because it takes time to register and wait for

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the password. Well, yeah, there are two steps to getting registered. If

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you have not done anything at all before, you need to tell HMRC that

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you need to fill in the self-assessment return, and you can

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do that online through their website. And then, once you get what

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is called a UTR code, which can take some weeks, you have to register to

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do the online return. So if you have not done anything at all until now,

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you are probably not going to get your unique tax reference code

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through in time. What those people would need to do is not panic, but

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do register as soon as you can, but make sure you do pay the tax by the

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31st of January. Don't just send a cheque to the revenue, because they

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will not necessarily be able to tie that up with your records. What you

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need to do is go to the part of the website about paying HMRC, and you

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can download a payslip which asks for all the necessary information

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such as your national insurance number, and posts that with your

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cheque to them. Eventually, they will tie that up. Any tips for the

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rest of us who are filling up the tax form, not in couples with

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someone well off blaming child benefit, but the 10 million others

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also who have to fill the form to mark what the top tips? Right, well,

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first of all, if you have not done the bit about registering online,

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you must do that before Tuesday to make sure you get an activation code

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in time so that you can get into the part of the website that enables you

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to do the return. You also need to make sure that the return is in by

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midnight on the 31st of January. Now, I would not leave it until the

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last minute, because, you know, they're all waste problems with

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broadband or, you know, websites et cetera, and you don't want it to go

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down if you are trying to do it at the last minute. -- there are always

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problems. Last year a lot of people actually did it on the last day. If

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you have not got all of your information, if you find you have

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got a bank statement missing or something like that, the best thing

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to do is put in your best estimate, and mark on the return that it is a

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best estimate, so at least you can get the return in on time. Because

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there is a ?100 penalty is the return is late. Tina Riches, we will

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leave at there, thank you for all of your advice on this, at a time of

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the year when many people who pay tax are a little bit...

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You can get updates by following our feed on Twitter. Thank you for

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watching this week, more again next week, CNN, bye-bye.

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-- see you then. You are watching BBC News, and these

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are the headlines: Police Scotland, who have been searching for the

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missing three-year-old Mikaeel, have found a body which they strongly

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believe to be his. His body has been detained for questioning by

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detectives as police seal off a bungalow belonging to a family

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relative.

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Weekly round-up of news about mortgages, savings, credit cards, bank accounts and pensions. Helpful tips and advice on how to get the best deals, consumer rights and making your money work harder for you. With Declan Curry.


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