Financial Dates for your 2020 calendar
There are quite a few changes in April – as one tax year ends and another begins. But that’s not the only month where changes may affect the cash in your pocket, for better – or worse. If you are going to be negatively impacted, remember, ‘to be forewarned is to be forearmed' or, in other words, finding out now may give you the time you need to prepare.
February 15: New rules for broadband, TV and phone come into effect
Research by Which? last year demonstrated that broadband customers who stay with their provider past their initial minimum contract face price increases of nearly £200 a year. This can be avoided by renegotiation with their current provider or switching to a new one.
To make it easier for consumers to find competitive deals for their broadband, phone and Pay TV services, Ofcom, the Government regulator for the communications services industry, has introduced new measures. From 15 February, broadband customers must be told when their contract is coming to an end and shown the best deals available at the time – and every year after that if they remain out of contract. These rules also apply to phone and Pay TV customers.
March 11: New budget delivered
Chancellor Sajid Javid will deliver his first Budget in March. There is already much speculation about what will be announced and which of the election pledges will be honoured. But as with every Budget, we really will not know the full details until the Chancellor delivers his Budget statement to Members of Parliament in the House of Commons.
April 5: Last chance to put money into your 2019-2020 ISA
Individual Savings Accounts, or ISAs, are a tax efficient way to make the most of your money. April 5 is the final day of the tax year and therefore the last day you can put money into your ISA. For the 2019-20 tax year, everyone has an ISA allowance of £20,000.
If you don’t have an ISA for this tax year, but would like to open one, there’s still time. You can find out more about Al Rayan Bank’s Sharia compliant ISAs here.
April 6: State Pension payments increase
From April 6, the State Pension is set to rise, which will make millions of British pensioners around £350 a year better off. Under the Government’s ‘triple lock system’, the State Pension* will receive a 3.9% boost – the biggest increase since 2012.
The weekly allowance of those on the New State Pension will rise to £175, and those on the Basic State Pension to £134. A full explanation of the difference between the New and Basic State Pensions, and a State Pension Checker, can be found on the government’s website here.
April 6: Benefits freeze ends
Former chancellor George Osborne froze certain benefits in 2016, but this ends in April. Benefits payments, including Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance, are expected to increase by 1.7% (the current rate of the Consumer Price Index of inflation).
Other benefits affected are income support, housing benefit, child tax credits, working tax credits and child benefit. Some of these are legacy benefits, which are being replaced by Universal Credit. Disability benefits and carer's allowance, which have not been subject to the freeze, will also increase.
April 6: Council tax rises
Local Authorities have the power to raise council tax by up to 2% in the new tax year, while those Authorities with adult social care responsibilities will be able to raise rates by up to 4%.
The average band D council tax on a home in England is currently £1,750, so using this as an example, a 2% increase would raise it by £35 to £1,785, and 4% would see it rise by £70 to 1,820.
1 June 2020: Free TV licenses for over 75s ends
Last year, the BBC announced that it will not provide free TV licences to over 75s from June, which is when it takes responsibility for funding free licences from the government. This change will see up to 3.7 million pensioners paying for a TV license. However, there is an exception: households that include someone over 75 claiming Pension Credit may still be eligible for a free licence. You can find out more here.
1 October: State Pension age increases
The State Pension age rises to 66 in October, for both men and women. Until November 2018, the State Pension age for women had been 60, and 65 for men. A phased timetable raised the state pension age for women from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2018.
The age at which British people can start claiming the state pension will continue to rise, reaching 67 by 2028.
If you haven’t yet reached State Pension age, you can check your state pension forecast through the government’s check your state pension website here
*The Triple Lock System
The triple lock ensures that the Basic State Pension always rises by a minimum of 2.5% per year, the rate of inflation or the average earnings growth, depending on whichever was greater. These three benchmarks are the core of the so-called ‘triple lock’.