Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Check Your Tax Code - You May be due a Refund!

Many of you will be receiving your payslips today, but just how many of you actually pay attention to them?  You probably know roughly how much you take home each month, but when was the last time you checked your tax code?

The current “normal” tax code is 747L (which gives you a tax free annual allowance of £7,475).  Your tax code may differ from this for a number of reasons:

  • You have more than one job.
  • You receive employee benefits from your employer (or had done so from a previous employer) such as a company car or healthcare insurance for example.
  • You have outstanding tax from previous tax years.
  • You have started a new job and haven’t handed in a P45 or completed a P46 form.
  • Your P45 from your previous job had the wrong code.
  • You receive a pension along with your salary.
If you tax code does differ to the “normal” code but you don’t know why, get in touch with HMRC and tell them that you think your tax code may be wrong.  You can phone the Employee Helpline on 0845 300 0627.  They will be able to explain what has affected your code or be able to investigate.

Another thing to look out for is if your tax code has an "X" , “Month 1” or “Week 1” suffix after it.  This means that your previous earnings and tax paid in this tax year are not being taken into account.  This could be for a number of reasons.
Often, the suffix arises after you start a new job and you’ve completed a P46 form.  747L X is most commonly used in this situation as it’s the “emergency tax code”.  If it’s still on your payslip phone HMRC as ask them if a cumulative code can be issued as soon as possible. 

It is possible there is an error with your code and you have over paid tax.
If this is the case, ask HMRC to issue a P6 notice with the correct coding immediately to your Employer.  If they receive it before your payroll is run in March, you could have a nice tax refund in you March payslip!

Alternatively, if you think there is a problem with your tax code you can send a copy of your P60  when you receive it in April or May (or P45 if you leave your job before April 6th) to HMRC along with a covering letter to ask them to check your tax code and amount you have paid this year.  

Send it to the address on your most recent correspondence for HMRC or to:

HM Revenue & Customs
Pay As You Earn
PO Box 1970
L75 1WX

For more 
information about checking your tax code and a handy tax code checker, visit the Money Saving Expert site. 

You can also find useful info on the HMRC website.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

FREE Things to do over Half Term!

Half term arrives next week for many schools (arrgghhh!) so this week I thought it would be good to get together a load of ideas for fun FREE things to do with the kids.
A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed!        

●        “Go on a winter 'treasure hunt' & make a collage/winter display when you get home (after a warming hot chocolate!)” 
Lorraine @beindemand

●        “Donkey Sanctuary at Sidmouth is free and fabulous.” 
Julia @mrandmrswalder

●          Visit your local museum.  Taunton and Exeter’s have both recently been re-opened and are well worth a visit!

●          Visit your local library – check for half term activities too.

●          Grab your wellies and go on a muddy puddle walk/sludge adventure!

●         @NEDayCrafts are running free craft workshops in Durham Market 14th -16th February inc. puppet and card making.

          If it’s too cold for it at the park, dig out your picnic rug, make some sandwiches and have a picnic in the living room!

●         Do you have a railway bridge close to you?  My young sons love to go and wave at the trains as they pass underneath! 

●         Some National Trust Estates, such as Wallington and Cragside in the North East are holding a free entry week.  Check for details for your local area.

●         Arrange a “play over swap” with your children’s friends.  It should give you a bit of a break too!

●         Taunton Mums and Dads: “YMCA in Lisieux Way, Taunton, have a free family day on Monday 10-2, fire engine, face painting etc”

●        "Feed the ducks, do some painting / colouring / other craft stuff, read books, do puzzles, go for a walk and splash in puddles...”

●         “Have a themed day around a fave story. EG The Gingerbread Man - start off reading it, make Gingerbread men, arts & crafts, treasure hunt to follow the gingerbread man's journey etc. Could link with any story."
            Georgina @GemWriting

●         "For those near London The Southbank have a Family festival on with lots of free events. Check out Waterstones too. Ours has lots of free storytelling and book based activities on next week."
            Joanne @Actoneparties

            You may be able to do a bit of this too!

There are some other great blogs full of ideas too:


Please feel free to leave a comment below with your ideas or information on a free event in your area.  

Have fun!