Areas such as divorce proceedings, paying taxes and receiving money from the government will change in the UK after new laws come into force in April
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A series of new laws are being introduced from next month will affect everyday life for millions of people.
The new rules and regulations being brought in at the beginning of April cover areas such as divorce proceedings, paying taxes and receiving money from the Government.
Some of them only businesses but several could affect ordinary people, too.
Wales Online reports on some of the key measures which people may not be aware of.
VED rates are going up meaning a rise in car tax from April 2022
From April 2022, Vehicle Excise Duty (aka car tax) will rise in line with the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation from April 2022.
But how much the cost will rise by will depend upon your vehicles emissions.
For instance, if your car emits no CO2, your car tax will remain at 0.
If your car’s CO2 emissions are between 1 and 50g per km, your standard rate of car tax will increase from £155 to £165, but your first year rate will still be £10.
The amount you pay also depends on how often you want to make a payment. There’s a five per cent surcharge if you pay monthly or every six months.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) runs computer tests every month to check whether the owners of cars registered in the UK have paid tax.
If the system flags up an untaxed vehicle that is not declared SORN (not on the road), the DVLA will send a fine of £80 to the owner. If this is paid within 28 days, a 50 per cent discount should be applied.
New divorce laws will come into force from 6 April 2022
On 6 April this year changes to the legislation on divorce will come into force.
The changes are part of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which aims to reduce the potential for conflict amongst divorcing couples by:
- removing the ability to make allegations about the conduct of a spouse
- allowing couples to end their marriage jointly
The act also introduces a minimum period of 20 weeks between the start of proceedings and application for conditional order.
This provides couples with a meaningful period of reflection and the chance to reconsider.
Where divorce is inevitable, it enables couples to cooperate and plan for the future. It will also no longer be possible to contest a divorce, except on limited grounds including jurisdiction.
It is worth noting that, as the new changes are brought in, the current online service will be unavailable from 31 March 2022. You can find out more about this on the government’s website.
HMRC will stop making payments to Post Office card accounts after 5 April 2022
About 7,500 customers still need to switch so they don’t miss out on vital payments as HMRC will stop making payments to Post Office card accounts after 5 April 2022. This means customers must notify HMRC of their new account details.
Customers can choose to receive their benefit payments to a bank, building society or credit union account. If they already have an alternative account, they can contact HMRC now to update their details.
If a customer misses the 5 April deadline, their payments will be paused until the customer notifies HMRC of their new account details.
Customers can also use The Money Helper website, which offers information and advice about how to choose the right current account and how to open an account.
Employers will have to increase wages paid to some workers
Changes in the minimum wage are in the pipeline. The Low Pay Commission made recommendations to the UK Government on what the minimum wage and living wage should be by 2022.
The UK Government accepted those recommendations and from April 1, 2022, it will be law for employers to pay their staff no less than the new rates. New living wage and minimum wage rates from April 2022 can be found on gov.uk.
New tax for plastic packaging
A new “plastic packaging tax” is coming into force in April 2022 that will apply to all plastic packaging manufactured in the UK, or imported into the UK, that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic.
The government has defined plastic packaging as “packaging that is predominantly plastic by weight” and the new tax will not apply to any plastic packaging which contains at least 30 per cent recycled plastic or any packaging.
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Imported plastic packaging will be liable to the tax whether the packaging is unfilled or filled.
The Government says the new tax aims to “provide a clear economic incentive for businesses to use recycled plastic in the manufacture of plastic packaging” and should lead to increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste, saving much of it from going to landfill.
The new law will take effect from April 1. Accountancy firm Harold Duckworth reports the rate of tax will be £200 per metric tonne of plastic packaging.
Changes in corporation tax
Companies and unincorporated associations that pay corporation tax will be affected by changes which come into effect on April 1, 2022.
HM Revenue and Customs has set the “main rate” for corporation tax for all non-ring-fenced profits to 19 per cent for the financial year that begins on April 1, 2022, increasing to 25 per cent of profits over £250,000 from April 1, 2023.
A small profits rate (SPR) will also be introduced at this time for companies with profits of £50,000 or less so that they will continue to pay corporation tax at 19 per cent.
Households urged to get ready for £150 council tax rebate
Households across England are being urged to set up direct debits with their local council to receive a council tax rebate that will help millions of families manage costs of living.
People who pay council tax by direct debit will see the cash go directly into their bank accounts from April.
Those who do not pay by direct debit will be contacted by their council and invited to make a claim.
Around 20 million households in council tax bands A to D – including 95 per cent of rented properties – are set to benefit from the £3 billion council tax rebate, which does not have to be repaid.
It is part of a package of government measures to help families with rising energy costs.
An extra £144 million will also be given to councils to provide discretionary support to vulnerable households who may not qualify for the £150 council tax rebate.
This includes people on low incomes in council tax bands E to H.
According to the Secretary of State for Leveling Up, Rt Hon Michael Gove : “As we emerge from the pandemic, we understand the pressures facing many families as global inflation levels increase.
“The support we have introduced will help millions of people, particularly those on the lowest incomes and the most vulnerable.
“We continue to stand behind the British people and I urge everyone who is eligible to claim this rebate to do so.”
Changes to fuel
Red diesel and rebated biofuels will become illegal from April 1, which will mainly affect users of off-road vehicles such as bulldozers and cranes.
The change is being made to help the UK meet its 2050 climate commitments.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.