Monday, 12 November 2012

Citizens Advice Bureau

 Elizabeth Crampton from St Albans Citizens advice was our guest tonight on the show when the following subjects were covered;

Child Benefit
Child Benefit has always been paid to all families with children, regardless of household income. However, this is changing from 7 January 2013. Child Benefit will still continue to be paid to everyone, but if you're a higher-income family, you'll have to pay extra tax if you choose to keep getting it. The extra tax you pay will cancel out some or all of your Child Benefit.

You'll start to pay more tax if either you or your partner have an income over £50,000 a year but you'll still continue to receive a smaller amount of Child Benefit depending on how much income you've got. If your income is over £60,000 a year, you'll pay so much more in tax that it will cancel out the entire amount of Child benefit you're getting.

You can choose not to receive any Child Benefit, if you don't want to pay the extra tax. However, HMRC is encouraging you to still fill in a Child Benefit claim form even if you choose not to actually receive any payments from them. This is because claiming Child Benefit can help you build up national insurance credits which can help protect your future state pension. It can also help protect your entitlement to other benefits such as Guardian's Allowance, and ensure your child is automatically issued with a National Insurance number before their 16th birthday.

You may be also able to avoid having to pay the extra tax and still receive Child Benefit, for example by reducing your taxable income. You could do this by, for example, paying more into your pension. Pension contributions are taken out of your income before you pay tax. This could therefore reduce the amount of income on which you have to pay tax to below the £50,000 limit. If you're thinking of doing this, it's always a good idea to get independent financial advice before you make a decision.


Car Clamping

From 1 October you can no longer have your car clamped just because you spend too long in a car park or park where you shouldn’t have.

The police, DVLA and some other organisations will still be able to clamp your car, for example if you don’t pay your car tax or if your car is unroadworthy.

You can still get parking tickets on private land. A two stage appeals process has been set up to deal with parking ticket disputes. This can be used by parking companies who are members of the British Parking Association.

First you appeal to the parking company, then to an independent appeal body called Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA). This is different to the process for parking tickets issued by the council.

If a parking company isn’t a member of the British Parking Association, they can’t use this independent appeals process. They can take you to court if you don’t pay, but they will need your details and will have to prove parking signs were clear and that you broke the rules.
full details on these items and all other advice can be found at the web site www.adviceguide.org.uk

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