While you may be thinking about making a New Year's resolution to save more (or spend less), for many of us just being aware of some important dates will help us make more informed decisions about our finances and manage our money better.
Below we run through the big dates to note in your calendar that could have an impact on your bank balance. Note that there will also be cost of living payments paid out this year, in the spring, summer, autumn and winter, although exact dates have not been announced yet.
Key dates for your money in 2023
1 January - £2 cap on single bus journeys
The £2 cap on single bus journeys comes into effect across England until the end of March, saving passengers 30% on the average fare. Companies including National Express, First Group and Stagecoach are taking part. The fare cap scheme is designed to help people with the cost of living, as well as encouraging them to leave their cars at home easing congestion on the roads.
31 January ‒ self-assessment tax deadline
If you are required to file a self-assessment tax return for 2021/22, for example, if you are self-employed, then the return ‒ along with the tax you owe ‒ will need to be paid by 31 January 2023.
While it can be tempting to put this off for as long as possible, it’s a really good idea to get ahead and sort out the return ahead of the deadline. You don’t want to have the stress of desperately trying to meet the deadline and the risk of being hit with a fine for being late.
As well as the return and tax for the 2021/22 tax year, you’ll also need to make your first payment on account for the 2022/23 tax year. A payment on account is essentially an advance payment towards your tax bill, based on what you paid in the previous year. A second payment is due in July.
March ‒ the Budget
The chancellor generally delivers the Budget in March. This is traditionally the big financial statement of the year and is when the government sets out changes to be made to the nation’s tax and spending plans.
The Budget is usually delivered in March. This year, it could be on 15 March - as this is when the Office for Budget Responsibility has been asked to prepare a forecast for - or shortly afterwards.
5 March - Rail fares rise
Like last year, the government is freezing rail fares for the whole of January and February, meaning fares will officially rise on 5 March 2023.
While the cost of train tickets is usually linked to inflation, the government has said fare increases for 2023 will be capped at 5.9% – 6.4 percentage points below July 2022’s retail prices index - to help people with the cost of living.
31 March ‒ end of Help to Buy
The Help to Buy scheme was designed to help would-be homeowners purchase a new-build property with a deposit of only 5%.
In order to qualify, applications for a Help to Buy equity loan ‒ which tops up your deposit ‒ had to be made by the end of October 2022. However, purchases will also need to complete by 31 March 2023, when the scheme is officially withdrawn.
1 April ‒ Energy Price Guarantee
One of the measures brought in by the government to support households with rocketing energy price bills was the Energy Price Guarantee. This froze the unit cost of gas and electricity, meaning the typical household pays £2,500 a year.
On 1 April the guarantee will rise to a higher level, meaning the average household will have to pay around £3,000 for their annual energy bill. This guarantee will be in place until April 2024.
1 April - water bills change
Our water bills are set on an annual basis, with the total divided by 12 so that we pay largely the same each month. The new prices for 2023/24 will kick in from the start of April.
Ofwat, the water regulator, has instructed some suppliers to return money to their customers by lowering their bills because they missed targets on things like water supply interruptions, pollution incidents and internal sewer flooding. So, you could see your water bill go down in 2023/24.
1 April ‒ council tax increase
The start of April will also see the arrival of new council tax rates. The actual date for the new rate will vary depending on the individual council.
We don’t yet know the rate changes that councils will impose, though the government is planning to loosen the rules around how much councils can increase bills without triggering a local referendum.
Council tax is generally paid in 10 monthly instalments, meaning you have two months “off”, although you can ask your council to take the money in 12 instalments instead. This can aid with your monthly budgeting since the payments will be smaller, albeit you’ll have to pay them every month.
1 April ‒ broadband and mobile phone bills increase
The pain of April continues with increases to our broadband, mobile and home phone bills. Many providers have it written into customer contracts that they can increase our bills each year by the UK rate of inflation, plus a couple of percentage points.
The bill hikes can take place mid-contract, so you aren’t protected from them if you are only a couple of months into a new contract.
Companies have different rules around this, meaning the size of any price hike will vary depending on your provider.
If you’re wondering about the cost of your TV licence, this is frozen at £159 for two years. It will rise in line with inflation for four years from 2024.
5 April ‒ end of the tax year
5 April marks the end of the tax year - an important date for those running their own business.
It’s also important for those looking to make the most of their annual ISA allowance. The £20,000 ISA limit does not roll over into the next tax year, instead, it’s a “use it or lose it” allowance. If you haven’t used your full ISA allowance, and have some spare cash in the days running up to the 5 April, it may be sensible to pay it into your ISA, before the 2023/24 tax year begins with a brand-new £20,000 allowance.
6 April ‒ state pension and benefits increase
The start of the new tax year is the date from which changes to certain state benefits, including the state pension, kick in.
The state pension is protected by the triple lock, which ensures it increases every year in line with the rate of inflation, wage growth or 2.5% - whichever is highest.
Jeremy Hunt added that more than 10 million families would also see their benefit payments rise by 10.1% in April 2023. A family on universal credit will receive an extra £600 in 2023/24.
6 April - tax changes
In his inaugural Autumn Budget, chancellor Jeremy Hunt made a change to the top rate of income tax, and also cut the dividend and capital gains tax (CGT) allowances.
Hunt reduced the threshold at which the top 45p rate of income tax becomes payable from £150,000 to £125,140. This will take effect on 6 April.
He is also planning to eliminate the dividend tax-free allowance, which currently stands at £2,000 a year.
This will drop to £1,000 on 6 April, and then again to £500 for the 2024/2025 tax year.
Meanwhile, the threshold for paying CGT will be slashed from £12,300 to £6,000 for the 2023/2024 tax year. It will be further cut to £3,000 in 2024/2025.
6 April - National Living Wage increases
The National Living Wage will rise from £9.50 an hour for over-23s to £10.42 from 6 April. Those under the age of 23, and those who are apprentices, will also see an increase in their hourly wage.
31 July - Deadline to use up non-barcoded stamps
Customers have until 31 July to use up any non-barcoded stamps before they become worthless. The deadline affects “everyday” 1st and 2nd class stamps featuring the late Queen’s profile. Christmas stamps, and those that are themed or commemorative, which don’t have a barcode can still be used after this date.
If you don’t manage to use your everyday stamps by 31 July, they can be swapped for barcoded stamps of the same value, free of charge.
Bear in mind that Royal Mail is promoting a deadline of 31 January to use up the stamps. However, it explained to The Money Edit: “The official deadline remains January 31. But from this date we have introduced a six-month period of grace for anyone sending non-barcoded stamps. So during this time non-barcoded stamps can be sent as usual.”
31 July ‒ Second payment on account
Self-employed workers will have to make their second payment on account for the 2022/23 tax year by the end of July.
16 August ‒ July inflation announcement
Every month the Office for National Statistics reveals the rate of inflation for the previous month. The reading for July, which is announced in August, is particularly notable as it is used to inform certain price increases.
For example, the retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation for July is used to set the increase in rail fares.
5 October - Deadline to register for self-assessment
18 October ‒ September inflation announcement
If you’re new to self-assessment, you must register with HMRC by 5 October. This deadline applies if you’re self-employed or a sole trader, registering a partner or partnership, and also to people who aren’t self-employed.
Another important inflation announcement is made in October, with September’s consumer prices index (CPI) measure used as the benchmark for a range of benefits and tax credits.
For example, it’s this figure that is used when determining the change in the state pension and universal credit.
31 October ‒ postal self-assessment deadline
If you file your self-assessment tax return through the post, rather than online, then you face a different deadline. You have until Halloween to get it sorted (if you do it online, you get an extra three months). Almost half a million people choose to fill in and send a tax return by post each year.
November ‒ Autumn Statement
The Autumn Statement, the second big fiscal statement from the chancellor, tends to be delivered in November though we don’t yet have a date confirmed for it. Occasionally it can take place at the start of December.
31 December - End of mortgage guarantee scheme
The mortgage guarantee scheme was due to expire at the end of 2022. However, the Treasury has announced that it will now run until 31 December 2023 amid concerns that falling house prices and a recession will reduce the number of low-deposit mortgage deals.
The scheme is designed to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder with a small deposit. It has so far helped 24,000 households, giving people with a deposit of less than 10% the chance to buy a home up to the value of £600,000.
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John Fitzsimons has been writing about finance since 2007, and is a former editor of Mortgage Solutions and loveMONEY. Since going freelance in 2016 he has written for publications including The Sunday Times, The Mirror, The Sun, The Daily Mail and Forbes, and is committed to helping readers make more informed decisions about their money.
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