2012: Key financial dates to watch out for

Whilst many economic experts are predicting more gloom for the country over the next 12 months, you can help to improve your finances by taking note of some important dates for your diary.

Whether 2012 is the year that you buy your first home or the year you eventually retire, there are many dates to consider in order to help make your money go further.

Tax Deadline

One date that many people dread is the tax deadline. High rate taxpayers, those who are self-employed or have multiple incomes will need to file an online tax return by midnight on 31st of January. There are penalties and interest charges if you send your tax return in late. For example, if you are 1 day late there is a fixed penalty of £100 and this applies even if you have no tax to pay or have already paid the tax you owe. Following that, there is a £10 charge for every day the tax return is delayed with a 90 day maximum of £900 on top of the £100 fixed penalty charge.

Stamp Duty Holiday end for first time buyers
If you are thinking about buying your first property, you may want to do so before the end of March this year when the stamp duty will be re-introduced for first time buyers.

Currently, first time buyers do not have to pay stamp duty on properties between £125,000 and £25,000. However, as of 24th March 2012, they will have to pay the 3% rate.

Compare mortgages with Money Expert.

Pull out of State Second Pension (S2Ps)

This is the last year which people will be able to ëcontract outí of S2Ps, which were previously known as ëSerps.í The governmentís additional State Pension, which you could receive, is based on your National Insurance contribution and how much youíve earned.

If youíre an employee with annual earnings over £5,304 in the last tax year, you can choose to leave the additional State Pension and join a private pension instead. If you opt out you could be refunded part of your National Insurance contribution to invest directly into a personal pension or SIPP (self invested personal pension), rather than just to add to your basic state pension instead.

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