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Published 27 December 2023
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6 Key Dates for Your Money in 2024

If financial fitness is at the top of your New Year’s resolutions in 2024, note these important dates and deadlines next year to ensure your finances stay on track and in tip-top shape.

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As we head into 2024, it’s time to start thinking about your annual household budget and financial strategy for the new year.

As you look ahead, it’s important to keep tabs on key dates and deadlines that could impact your financial planning.

Here’s a round-up of six key dates for your money in 2024.

1. National Insurance and tax changes

Effective dates: 6 January and 6 April

A new year means new tax rates, with the specific amount you’ll owe depending on your employment status. Additionally, National Insurance on your annual income is an extra (and separate) cost to consider. 

On 6 January 2024, the main National Insurance rate for employees is being cut from 12% to 10%. Meanwhile, the main rate of Class 4 National Insurance contributions (NICs) will be cut from 9% to 8%, and self-employed Class 2 NICs will be scrapped when the new tax year begins on 6 April – the latter is a change that has been in the pipeline since 2015.

During the 2023/2024 tax year, which runs through to 5 April 2024, most workers can earn up to £12,570 (known as your -personal allowance) in wages before owing income tax. The personal allowance is currently set to stay the same for the 2024/25 tax year.

Despite the National Insurance cuts, frozen income tax thresholds and rising wages will mean more of us will be pulled into paying a bigger proportion of our income as tax. This is known as ‘fiscal drag’.

What to do: If you have a complicated income situation or you own a business, you can consult a tax professional who can provide personalised insights about how new tax rates might impact your annual tax strategy. If you’re self-employed and your tax situation is not too complex, you could hire an accountant

2. Annual tax deadlines

Deadlines: 31 January, 31 July, 5 and 31 October

Mark your diary for the UK’s various tax deadlines in 2024. You will need to submit your online self-assessment tax return and pay what you owe for the 2022/23 tax year by midnight on 31 January. The deadline for submitting a paper return was 31 October 2023.

In some cases, you may need to make advance payments during the year and there is a second deadline for this payment of 31 July 2024.

The deadline for letting HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) know you need to complete a self-assessment tax return was 5 October. But if you’ve missed that deadline, penalties shouldn’t apply if you submit it online by 12 January 2024. 

What to do: When it comes to tax preparation, Martyn James, a money and consumer rights expert based in London, says, “It is worthwhile getting all of your ducks in a row a good four or five weeks in advance, because […] they have penalties if you’re late, and those penalties can be quite severe.”

Consider hiring a tax professional if you have a complicated financial or employment situation. Brush up on self-assessment tax returns so you’re confident in how to file and pay your annual taxes.

3. Train fare hikes

Effective date: 5 March

Train fare rises are set to come into effect on 5 March, and the government has committed to raising regulated rail fares below the rate of inflation. This will affect standard day returns, season tickets and most commuter fares, which make up almost half (45%) of England’s rail fares.

If the government uses the same formula in 2024 as it did in 2023 to assess rail fares, passengers across England would pay a record-high increase of 7.8%, according to the advocacy group Campaign for Better Transport.

Rail fare rises for the rest of the UK will be set by their devolved governments.

What to do: To lower your train fares, look into different types of travel passes and railcards to save money, says James.

One option James suggests is the Two Together Railcard (£30 per year), which enables you to travel with a partner, friend or work colleague. These railcard holders save an average of £153 annually, or £6.26 per journey, according to National Rail.

“You can get that [and use it] as long as you’re travelling at the same time – that gets you quite big discounts.”

4. Energy price cap changes

Effective dates: 1 April, 1 July and 1 October

Energy costs are a considerable household expense, and changes in the energy price cap, which is reviewed four times per year, are expected to squeeze budgets in England, Scotland and Wales even tighter next year.

Energy regulator Ofgem’s annual adjustment is forecast to remain above its current level of £1,834 until at least the end of 2024, according to independent energy market intelligence firm Cornwall Insight. A dual fuel consumer’s typical energy bill will jump to £1,923 annually in January, with a minimal increase to £1,929 by April 2024, the firm predicts.

Keep in mind these are estimates; your actual energy bill will depend on how much gas and electricity you use each month.

Ofgem says on its website that the dates when it will announce price cap changes in 2024 are:

Northern Ireland has its own process for setting energy prices.

What to do: Evaluate your energy usage and consider cost-effective ways to lower your monthly utility bills, such as reducing usage during peak hours, lowering your thermostat, taking shorter showers or refreshing insulation, for instance.

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills, Ofgem recommends contacting your supplier immediately for support, which may include certain schemes, grants and benefits

5. Childcare support changes

Effective date: 1 April

From 1 April, working parents of two-year-olds in England will be eligible for 15 hours of childcare support each week, according to the government’s Childcare Choices programme. From 1 September, 15 hours of support will be available to eligible working parents of children aged nine months to 23 months.

Like current support schemes, and depending on your childcare provider, these hours can be used 38 weeks during the school term, or up to 52 weeks if you use less than the total hours each week.

What to do: Check the government’s childcare support tiers to see what assistance you qualify for based on your work status, whether you’re receiving benefits and your children’s ages. There are different childcare schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

6. Telecoms price hikes

Key date: April 

April or May typically sees price hikes in broadband, mobile and TV service bills. Broadband customers could see their internet bills spike £150 higher than anticipated mid-contract “due to two years of eye-watering price hikes,” according to consumer group Which?. 

“On average, BT, EE, Plusnet, Shell Energy, TalkTalk and Vodafone customers could see increases of more than 8% in 2024, while Virgin Media customers could see rises of over 10%,” according to Which? research.

What to do: Review your current providers and try to negotiate with them. If that fails, shop around for other plans to get the best deal, James recommends.

You might even qualify for social tariffs (also known as “essential” or “basic” broadband by some providers). This gives you access to cheaper broadband and phone services (as low as £10) if you claim most types of government benefits, according to the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom. 

Image source: Getty Images

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