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It’s never been tougher to keep up with the changes in our day to day living costs as we face up to our financial future in 2024.
A tax freeze here, a wage increase there, and the inevitable months between the government making an announcement and actually implementing it.
We’re told that inflation is definitely set to drop yet experts predict that real wages compared to prices won’t return to 2021 levels until at least 2027, so there’s still a long way to go.
Mindful of how difficult it can be to keep track of what’s happening when, MoneyMagpie.com has put together the most important financial dates for you and your pocket.
January 31 – Self-employed? Then it’s your self-assessment, online, deadline. You need to pay tax you owe by midnight or face a £100 penalty.
March 3 – If you thought strikes were bad enough, now rail fares are set to rise 4.9% in England and pity readers living further north as ScotRail fares are set to rise by 8.7% from April 2024.
March 6 – Spring Budget. With a general election looming it’s hard to know if the Chancellor will have any election winning cost cutting up his sleeve. Lots of rumours about tax cuts and the dreaded inheritance tax being scrapped but is it all smoke and mirrors?
March 23 – Fuel Duty. The extension to cut fuel duty rates ends so another potential increase at the pumps.
April 1 – The national living wage goes up from £10.42 to £11.44 an hour. Meanwhile the minimum wage for 18-20-year-olds will increase £1.11 an hour to £8.60 and apprentices can also expect a pay boost to £6.40 an hour, a 21.2% increase.
Council Tax – Brace yourselves. The maximum permitted rise a council can enforce is 4.99% which the majority of them did last year so it’s likely we are in for more of the same despite the struggle many families are having to pay their bills.
Childcare – Good news for working parents who will get 15 hours free for children under two. A first step to the government’s promise of 30 hours from September 2025, for all children from nine months old until they start school.
TV Licence – It’s rising in line with September’s rate of inflation (6.6%) which takes the licence fee from £159 to £160.50.
Fuel – this is set to rise with the Retail Price Index but could be frozen closer to the time.
Energy Price Cap – Ofgem’s latest price cap comes in and is expected to fall.
National Insurance – changes for self-employed people with Class 2 NICs axed, saving an average of £186 a year and Class 4 NICs will also be cut from 9 to 8%.
Dividend and Capital Gains Tax – the tax free allowance for Capital Gains that lets people sell assets such as a second property or shares, will reduce in 2024-2025 from £6,000 to £3,000. The threshold for dividend tax will drop from £1,000 to £500.
However you will be able to pay into multiple ISAs of the same type and transfer slices of ISA money you paid in during the current tax year. Previously it was all or nothing.
The minimum age to open a cash ISA will rise to 18 which closes the loophole that allowed 16 and 17-year-olds to have an ISA and cash ISA allowance in the same tax year.
State Pension – will rise 8.5% to keep pace with living costs, taking the full new state pension from £203.85 to £221.20 per week. For those who hit state pension age before 2016, their full weekly basic will rise from £156.20 to £169.50.
Benefits – those those receiving working age benefits will see them increased in line with September’s 6.7% inflation rate.
Election – Local elections take place and could be an indicator of when this year the general election will be announced.
Banknotes – King Charles will be featuring on our currency as our new look banknotes go into circulation. Given the price of things these days some may say the term A King’s Ransom, has never been more apt.
Energy Bills – Ofgem’s latest energy price cap comes in and experts at Cornwall Insights are forecasting a fall to £1,880 a year from £1,929 in April.
Payment on Account deadline – self-employed people must make advance payments towards their tax bills or face financial penalties.
Alcohol Duty – Were you looking forward to 68p off your favourite bottle of wine? Your wait is finally over. The cut in alcohol duty was announced in the Autumn statement and nine months later, here it is.
State Pension – the latest wage figures will be announced which are used as part of the triple lock calculations to decide on figures for the rise in state pension for April 2025.
Energy Bills – The latest energy price cap comes into play but any forecasts this far ahead, especially in our current economic climate, need to be taken with a pinch of salt.
State Pension and Benefits – The latest inflation figures are used for uprating working age benefits.
Self Assessment – This is the deadline to file your paper self-assessment tax return for 2023-24 although it is now easier and quicker to file online.