Annie Johnstone MBE (Secretary) representing Vickers Street Sheltered Housing, Motherwell. Annie is a founder member of the Forum who has been a tireless campaigner and community activist for over 40 years.
Annie has been a stalwart of local organisations in her home town of Motherwell such as Motherwell Seniors Forum, Motherwell Community Forum, North Motherwell Community Partnership, the Crime Prevention Panel and Citizens Advice Bureau.
Making Life Easier in North Lanarkshire
Are you struggling to manage everyday activities that you never used to think about? Or are you worried about someone you live with or care for? North Lanarkshire Councils Making Life Easier service could be for you.
All of us can find everyday activities like opening jars, getting on and off a chair, hearing the doorbell and struggling to get in and out of a bath or standing in a shower difficult from time to time. This might be because we are getting older, or because we live with a long term health condition or disability that just makes things more difficult to manage.
Help is at hand! Making Life Easier is an easy to use on line service where you can find help, advice, information and access to simple pieces of equipment and adaptations direct from the councils Integrated Equipment and Adaptation Service without the need for further assessment. Any equipment solution you are matched to will be delivered free of charge by staff from IEAS. They will also arrange for any simple adaptation you are matched to.
The service is free and totally confidential. It is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Around half of the people who currently use the service do so after 6pm at night. About 80% of all equipment requests are delivered within 7 working days from IEAS.
There is advice on how to look after your feet and footwear, on how to keep active and healthy to prevent falling, things you can do if you are worried about your memory, and tips on how to manage a whole range of everyday activities more safely and independently.
We have worked with physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, dieticians, podiatrists as well as organisations like Action on Hearing Loss, RNIB, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue to make sure that there is up to date professional advice on a huge range of topics.
All you need to do is answer a few questions about you, how you manage and your environment to see if you are matched to any solutions. This usually takes around 15 minutes. If you want to get equipment from IEAS then you need to live in North Lanarkshire and register on the service. This is free too and takes minutes to do.
Making Life Easier is not something North Lanarkshire Council is providing instead of its usual services, but is a new and exciting addition. We recognise that the earlier people get information, advice and support the more likely they are to be able to keep living at home doing the things they want and need to do.
You can find the service at www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/makinglifeeasier
If you want more information on the service contact one of our Disability Information Officers on tel: 01698 274418 or 274584
mobile/SMS: 07939 283323
TAX TIP - Another year, another set of tax codes
Those of you who pay tax via ‘Pay As You Earn’ (PAYE) should receive your new tax codes from HMRC this month. This may not happen if your affairs are simple, for example you only have one source of income, but it is still important to check that your first pay slip has a new code. To help with the checking, here are the new personal allowances for 2014/15:-
Born after 5 April 1948 £10,000
Born after 5 April 1938 but before 6 April 1948 £10,500
Born before 6 April 1938 £10,660
Married Couple’s Allowance £8,165 (£4,083 on notice of coding to allow for 10% relief)
Blind Person’s Allowance £2,230
It is easy to check when you have only one source of income and don’t receive anything else that affects your code, such as work related benefits. You just knock off the last digit to find your new code. For example, from April 2014 a person aged 61 (born 1953) with one employer/pension provider will have a tax code of 1000L. Don’t worry too much about the letters; they are used by HMRC to communicate with employers and pension providers. However, if you have more than one source of income, other allowances or benefits, or possibly even both, then things start to get more complicated and problems can arise. An example will, hopefully, help to explain this better.
Mr. Biggs is 80 (born 1933) and married. He receives a state pension of £6,000, an occupational pension of £9,000 and a small annuity of £1,500. He will need two tax codes, one for his larger pension that takes account of his married couple’s allowance and his state pension (which cannot be taxed at source) and one for his small annuity. These are calculated as follows. His personal allowance is £10,660. To this we add his married couples allowance (only half because the allowance is given at 10% and not at the basic tax rate of 20%) to give him a tax free allowance of £14,743. From this we deduct his £6,000 state pension (because it is the only way it can be taxed) which leaves him with a tax free amount of £8,743. Then remove the end digit to give him a tax code of 874T which is applied to his occupational pension. But what happens to the annuity? As all of his allowances have been used to calculate the code for his larger pension, anything else will be taxed at 20% and the code given in this particular case would be BR (which stands for ‘basic rate’).
If you usually complete a self assessment tax return, did you file your 2012/13 return by 31st January 2014? Did you pay what was owed by the same date? If not, you will probably be opening a penalty notice this month and if you filed after 30th December 2013 you are also too late to pay your tax via the 2014/15 tax codes. Failure to file your 2012/13 tax return and pay what you owe by the 31st January (if not coded) will mean you receive a late filing penalty of £100 and interest will start accruing. Those who usually file on paper will find that the £10 a day penalties also kick in. Now is the time to ask for help if you need it. You may be able to appeal if you have a good reason for not complying.
This article is by Tax Help for Older People (operated by registered charity no 1102276), offering free tax advice to older people on lower incomes. The Helpline number is 0845 601 3321 or geographical 01308 488066.
In this world nothing can
Bereavement can be a difficult and often stressful time. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, but as anyone who has been through this will also know, there is a staggering amount of paperwork to deal with too. In the circumstances, this can be quite mind boggling. If you have a solicitor dealing with estate they are likely to make you aware of your obligations to the taxman, and should guide you through painlessly.
“Tell us Once” is a service that helps people tell government departments just once about a death. Most counties run the service and you can find out about it when you register the death.
Once you register for this service, all government departments will be informed; HMRC, Tax Credits, DWP, DVLA and the passport service to name a few. If the service is unavailable in your area you will need to contact each department separately. When someone dies it is important to determine if too much or too little tax has been paid for the year, and HMRC will send out a form R27 to the person responsible for settling the estate.
It is important to check that any unused allowances for the year of death, such as married couples or blind person’s allowances are transferred to the survivor. The death of a spouse will often make a difference to how the survivor is taxed. For example they may receive a new pension, start to receive a widow’s pension or find their State pension increased, in addition to the allowances that can be transferred to the surviving spouse.
HMRC may send out a pension coding form, P161W, asking for details of income. It can be completed as soon as the survivor knows what their new pensions etc. will be and HMRC will use the information to work out how any tax due will be paid, and then issue new tax codes if required.
Please don’t forget savings income. A person who becomes a taxpayer will have to revoke any election they made (on form R85) to receive gross bank or building society interest.
For example, a woman, who only has the married woman’s state pension of £66.00 a week, has never had to worry about tax and may have notified their bank for interest to be paid gross rather than net of tax. When her husband dies she inherits half of his occupational pension, gets an increased state pension based on his national insurance contributions, and may have more investment income. Suddenly she is a taxpayer. She is not on the HMRC computer system and probably is totally unaware that she will be liable to pay tax. At this very difficult time, when she is at her most vulnerable, she is supposed to know that she needs to complete an R27, inform HMRC of changes in her income, check any information that is sent to her in relation to tax codes and remember to revoke any R85s she has in place.
We find that it normally takes about six months to get everything in order, and we also recommend an end of year check, and review of the following year, to check that all is well.
This article is by Tax Help for Older People (operated by registered charity no 1102276), offering free tax advice to older people on incomes below £17,000 a year. The Helpline number is 0845 601 3321 or geographical 01308 488066