All posts by Mark Scott

About Mark Scott

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited. He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

What’s Happening In the Cryptocurrency World: South Korea Ban & More

What’s Happening In the Cryptocurrency World: South Korea Ban & More

Cryptocurrencies have become an overnight sensation. Bitcoin almost hit $20,000 in December 2017 after opening the year (Jan 2017) at $980. The price rally caught a lot of attention in 2017 resulting in numerous ICO’s (IPOs for Cryptocurrencies). There are now 1300+ Cryptocurrencies with more being released every day. Considering Cryptocurrencies aren’t backed by tangible assets like Gold, there have been concerns that they are capable of destabilising the entire financial system. Many financial experts have been on record stating that the Cryptocurrency bubble will burst. Others had speculated government and regulator intervention despite most cryptocurrency creators saying that would be out of the question.

We can’t say the bubble has burst yet although the price of Bitcoin (the most popular cryptocurrency) has been dropping in 2018. One Bitcoin costs approximately $12,466 as of January 17th, 2017. We are also starting to see government intervention with South Korea leading the way.

Developments

On January 11th, 2018, police raided Bithumb and Coinone offices, the two largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea on suspicion of tax evasion. On the same day, South Korea Justice Minister Park Sang-ki made a statement implying that the government was going to ban all trading activities taking place on domestic crypto asset exchanges.

South Korea has one of the biggest Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market in Asia accounting for approximately 20% of the world’s global Bitcoin transactions. In fact, many Koreans have sizable portions of their money/savings in cryptocurrency. Furthermore, the country lacks good high-yield investment opportunities for ordinary citizens. A recent survey indicated that 30% of all salaried workers have invested in Cryptocurrencies.

News over the looming cryptocurrency ban spread like wildfire tumbling the price of Bitcoin. The price hasn’t recovered since despite reassurances from the South Korean government via a statement released on 15th January 2018 suggesting that the said cryptocurrency crackdown wasn’t imminent. The South Korean government through the Government policy Coordination office has tried to backtrack from recent comments by the Justice Minister as well as recent government action. However, many are convinced the current developments signify a looming clampdown.

This is because the government hasn’t ruled out intervention or a complete ban. The most recent statement suggests that the government is waiting to consult widely and coordinate options before arriving at a decision. As of now, the government hasn’t offered much relief to its citizens as well as many others who have invested in Bitcoin considering the effects of the remarks made by the Justice Minister on January 11th, 2018.

Furthermore, this isn’t the first time the South Korean government is displaying hostility towards Cryptocurrencies. On 28th December 2018, the government issued a warning stating that virtual currencies can’t play the role of actual currency. The warning also relayed concerns that excess volatility could cause massive losses. The latest statement suggests that some South Korean government officials and organizations don’t agree on how to handle the cryptocurrency boom. South Korea already banned ICOs in December 2017 as well as anonymous crypto trading accounts over criminal concerns. Popular exchange, Youbit, has also filed for bankruptcy after a hacking incident saw the exchange lose $35 million worth of Bitcoin.

China ban

South Korea is not the only Asian country facing a complete cryptocurrency ban. Senior government and banking officials have been on record calling for a total ban. Back in September 2017, Chinese regulators banned ICOs and introduced other stringent measures such as ordering domestic exchanges to halt all crypto-to-fiat trading services. Since then, major exchanges have shifted to over-the-counter as well as global crypto-to-crypto trading.

Many crypto skeptics in China have argued that the current measures aren’t enough given crypto trading services are still available for residents. China is a perfect example of how a cryptocurrency trading ban can fail. As soon as the Chinese authorities pounced on domestic exchanges to stop trading, most relocated overseas. Traders resorted to using trading applications such as telegram to trade directly or over-the-counter without an intermediary.

Reports indicate that Chinese authorities and senior banking officials such as Pan Gongsheng, China’s Central Bank Vice Governor are working on a framework that will allow local and central authorities to investigate as well as block all domestic and foreign platforms that support cryptocurrency trading.

It is however clear that a complete ban on cryptocurrency anywhere in the world will be easier said than done. Cryptocurrencies are designed to be free of centralized authority. Their decentralized nature is the main reason why they have become popular globally. Majority of the global population has lost trust in Fiat currency given its obvious shortfalls such as susceptibility to manipulation.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Banks Issuing Debt at Fastest Rate in 8 Years While Household Debts Soars

Banks Issuing Debt at Fastest Rate in 8 Years While Household Debts Soars

According to the latest Bank of England data, net new issuance of commercial paper and bonds stood at £17.5 billion in November 2017. This statistic shows that November 2017 was the busiest month for UK businesses and banks since October 2009.

Debt markets have been growing at the fastest rate in eight years, and what’s more, bankers expect the trend to continue in 2018. From January to November 2017, UK businesses and banks raised a net £50 billion which was the yearly level since September 2010.

According to Davis Marks, a debt capital banker at JPMorgan, UK banks are expected to be more active in capital markets this year (2018) than they were in 2017. UK banks must, however, refinance existing debt as well as build additional capital to meet the 2022 regulatory requirement deadline.

Labour analysts have been on record warning over rising household debt. According to John McDonnell, the level of unsecured borrowing in Britain may hit record levels very soon. According to remarks he made in December 2017, McDonnell stresses a need for more decisive action from the government in 2018 regarding debt since the UK has already seen a debt crisis with payday loans where payday loan companies were making astronomical profits from people’s financial problems.

Analysts have predicted that the level of unsecured loans per household in the UK will exceed £15,000 in 2018 and could easily surpass £19,000 by 2022 if adequate action isn’t taken.

Million of Britons starting 2018 in debt

The latest National Debtline statistics indicate that 7.9 million Britons are likely to start 2018 with debt accumulated during the Christmas season. The debt advice charity estimates a record 16% of Britons will face difficulties meeting their financial obligations in January 2018 compared to 11% last year. This statistics clearly shows that people will be worse off this year than last year, but all is not lost.

The FCA has new rules in place that require UK lenders to prompt borrowers to repay debt faster. Lenders are also obligated to intervene early in cases of repayment difficulties. For instance, they can cancel interest and/or waive charges accumulated on short-term debt like credit card loans for customers who are in debt persistently.

Quick measures/steps to get out of debt in 2018

In case you are already in debt in January 2018, there are some measures you can take by yourself to repay the debt before more is done by the government and regulators to deal with the increasing rate of household debt. It doesn’t really matter if you took out a short term loan such as a payday loan that you didn’t need. It’s time to take action.

Step 1: List all your debt

If you have more than one loan to repay, you should start by listing all your debt. It may appear obvious; however, most people who take many short-term loans don’t know how many loans they service in a month among other important details such as interest amount and additional fees. A simple exercise such as listing current loans can help you assess affordability accurately preventing you from taking up more loans.

Step 2: Repay the most costly loans first

Step 1 should help you identify expensive debt. Repay such debt first to reduce the total time you take repaying especially if you make more than minimum repayments. Observing this step will also help you reduce the total charges incurred.

Step 3: Halt savings/investments for a while

It’s always prudent to save and invest after getting rid of debt especially if it is short-term debt which accumulates hefty charges in fees and interest. Instead of saving and investing every month, as usual, use the money to offset your debt. However, don’t forget to continue saving/investing once you are debt-free.

Step 4: Consider debt management strategies

If you accumulated a lot of debt during the festive season that may not be repayable easily/faster/comfortably using your monthly savings, you can consider consolidating the debt which is simply; combining many debts into one manageable debt. Many lenders offer this option. You can also visit a financial professional to advise you accordingly given debt consolidation has some risks that must be understood beforehand to avoid more debt problems.

Lastly, don’t get into debt again. If you must take a payday loan or any other type of short term loan, use the loan amount for the intended purposes. Loans should never be misused. Never take loans simply because they are available. You should also take a loan you can afford comfortably.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Russia to Legalise Crypto Trading on Approved Exchanges

Russia to Legalise Crypto Trading on Approved Exchanges

Back in October 2017, Russia moved to ban cryptocurrency trading by blocking access to cryptocurrency exchange websites. The move followed comments by Sergei Shvetsov, Russia’s first Central Bank Deputy Governor terming cryptocurrency exchanges as dubious.

The ban came after China’s assault on Cryptocurrencies. China banned Initial Coin Offers popularly known as ICOs in September 2017. ICOs are fundraising schemes for Cryptocurrencies (similar to IPOs for stocks).

Russia has held a long-standing position of treating non-state money as ”illegal” but was warming up to Cryptocurrencies before the abrupt assault on cryptocurrency exchange websites. The October 2017 actions were influenced by the Finance Ministry’s statement in September 2017 stating Cryptocurrencies would face regulation like securities but exchanges would have to go.

New draft bill

Since October 2017, Russia seems to have softened its stand on Cryptocurrencies A draft bill has been proposed to legalise cryptocurrency trading on approved exchanges. According to the Deputy Finance Minister, Alexei Moiseev, the finance ministry supports the proposed bill.

The Ministry of Finance has developed a list of approved trading platforms following the presentation of the draft bill on 28th December 2017. Russia now wants to support cryptocurrency trading on official exchanges after taking a firm stand against exchanges back in October. According to Moiseev, Russia, through the finance ministry wants to set some limits. Moiseev supports Cryptocurrency trading on official exchanges and states that the new bill is meant to make the cryptocurrency landscape more stable in Russia.

The proposed legislation has been termed refreshing given Russia’s attitude towards crypto regulation which was somewhat foreboding just recently. In August 2017, Moiseev claimed it was impossible to prove that Cryptocurrencies weren’t pyramid schemes and the Russian government was going to do whatever was necessary to allow qualified investors only in the crypto space.

Background of the draft bill

The current draft bill was initially conceptualized in April 2017 when the Russian government originally decided that it was important to regulate cryptocurrency by law. The first draft was to be reviewed in six months. According to Elina Sidorenko, Moscow State of IR (International Relations) professor who was among the group responsible for drafting the new cryptocurrency regulation, the bill was delayed for several reasons the most notable being conflicting ideas on the purpose/s the new laws should serve.

According to lawmakers like Anatoly Aksakov, the proposed bill could have been signed before January 2018. However, there was yet another delay. The Kremlin published five official orders regulating some aspects of cryptocurrency in October 2017. Lawmakers finally met on 28th December to discuss the draft bill. According to the latest media reports from TASS and RIA, Aksakov claims the latest draft on allowing crypto trading on approved exchanges will most likely be signed into law before March 2018.

Aksakov supports the slow action of the Russian government claiming it is better for the government to act slowly than hastily. Aksakov claims that the government must consider the people who buy Cryptocurrencies and end up being deceived. Such people must be given a chance to trade cryptocurrency legally with all the government protection possible.

On 11th January 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin went on record stating that the Russian government must be responsible for any difficulty the Russian people get into if the proposed cryptocurrency regulation isn’t enough. This statement alluded to the fact that Putin supports a ”slow but sure process”. It, therefore, won’t be a surprise if the current bill takes longer than expected to become law.

Although Russia’s change of heart on Cryptocurrencies has been welcomed by many, some skeptics claim the government wants to centralize Cryptocurrencies by imposing certain exchanges on the public. This in itself defies the whole idea behind Cryptocurrencies. The main reason why people choose Cryptocurrencies over state-issued currency (FIAT currency) is simple; a single entity can’t manipulate cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrencies also offer unmatched anonymity allowing holders to transact undetected. This has obvious tax benefits. Many argue that trading on government-approved exchanges will eliminate anonymity benefits and expose crypto users in Russia to the problems that have been affecting government-issued currency for decades. Furthermore, there is no clear framework on how exchanges will be approved i.e., regulatory requirements and if those regulations will be fair.

Those supporting government intervention claim it will reduce instances of rogue exchanges out to steal virtual currency, but it is impossible to ignore the centralisation issue.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Parents are Now Using Loans and Credit Cards to Pay Childcare Costs

Parents are Now Using Loans and Credit Cards to Pay Childcare Costs

Parents in the UK, specifically Northern Ireland are spending more than £6,000 per child, per year in nursery fees today. The latest statistics show that childcare costs for children under five years stand at £117 and parents are being forced to work less or take loans to be able to cope with childcare costs. More than half of all Northern Ireland parents say they rely on other family members and grandparents to help them with childcare issues.

What’s more is the £6,000 annual childcare cost per child, which represents approximately 25% of the standard salary of a Northern Ireland worker, can increase drastically to more than £8,000 for many parents per part-time place. According to a recent Belfast Telegraph interview involving two mothers, Alison Bingham from Belfast and Jennifer Burns from Glengormley, exorbitant childcare costs have made it impossible for the two mothers to consider having more children considering they now spend approximately £10,000 and £15,500 each, respectively. Alison and Jennifer have two children each.

Killick & Co. Survey

The most recent Killick & Co. annual childcare cost survey showed that more than 42% of mothers surveyed in Northern Ireland indicated a significant rise in childcare costs over the last two years. The Killick & Co. Survey also showed that 50% of those polled had reduced their work-hours by a day every week in the past 5 years due to childcare costs and a further 25% have cut down working hours by two days every week.

Besides affecting working hours, hefty childcare fees (which now take up to 33% of the total household income) are influencing most parents’ position on having more children. According to Svenja Keller, Wealth Planing head at Killik and Co., the findings show how people’s lifestyles have been forced to change because of family. For instance, women are being forced to work less than men.

Also, more Northern Ireland parents (over 61%) now rely on extended family members to assist with childcare. According to Keller, grandparents now bare the biggest burden of helping with childcare tasks as parents cope with childcare costs and work-life balance. Data from the survey shows that Northern Ireland childcare costs stand at £6,084 annually, per child compared to £5,044 and £5,772 in Scotland and Wales respectively.

Aoife Hamilton, the Employers For Childcare Policy & Information manager agrees with Keller’s sentiments that childcare costs have become burden on families. According to Hamilton, the childcare bill has surpassed the rent, mortgage, food, and energy bill, a trend which is shocking and needs immediate attention especially when 25% of parents are turning to credit cards, borrowing from friends and family or even taking out payday loans to cater for childcare expenses.

According to Hamilton, the effect isn’t just financial. Employers For Childcare research shows that childcare costs are influencing working patterns causing many parents to leave work and limit their career opportunities which is, in turn, contributing to stress and the overall well-being of many families.

Employers For Childcare has a family benefit advice service for working parents (Free helpline: 0800 028 3008) who want to get work or those keen on maximising their income/managing childcare costs. In 2017, the benefit advice service conducted 6,542 personalised calculations.

Case study one: East Belfast Couple: 40-year old Alison Bingham and 38-year old Engineer husband

The couple has two children, Anna aged 4.5 years and Hayley aged 2.5 years.

Alison and Richard earn a combined £75,000 per year and spend £9,984 on childcare. According to Alison, the couple uses both formal and informal childcare services. Hayley attends formal childcare 3-full days a week while Anna is there three times every week on part time basis. Their grandparents help out 2 days every week. Alison and her husband can’t afford to cut back working days so they have to foot the childcare bill. Things are however better, according to Alison since the total childcare cost last year was £13,500 given both children were in nursery three days a week. Besides cost, the constant drop-offs and pick-ups are stressful. Having more children is not an option.

Case study two: Glengormley couple; Health service admin Jennifer Burns, 39 years and civil servant husband Christopher 35 years

The couple has two children, Alex aged 5 years and Jake aged 2. The couple has an annual combined salary of £38,000. £15,500 goes to yearly childcare costs. Alex is in nursery 5 days every week (part-time) while Jake is there 5 days a week full-time. According to Jennifer, the couple gets tax credits which cater for approximately 52% of their total childcare costs but the remaining £600 that must be paid every month is higher than the couple’s mortgage.

According to the couple, working part-time isn’t an option. If it were not for tax credits, Jennifer admits she would be forced to work part-time. She agonises having to pay ninety pounds more than she earns per month so that someone else can look after her children when she is at work. Having more children is also unthinkable for this couple considering the increasing childcare costs and the fact that Jennifer hasn’t had a pay hike in 8 years.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Brave: What is it? Is it The Safest & Fastest Web Browser Today? Everything You Need to Know

Brave: What is it? Is it The Safest & Fastest Web Browser Today? Everything You Need to Know

Brief history: Brave.com

Brave.com is arguably the safest, fastest and newest web browser available today. The browser has several developers the most notable being Brendan Eich, a renowned American technologist who happens to be the creator of JavaScript and co-founder of the Mozilla Corporation, Mozilla project, and Mozilla foundation. Brendan Eich is the Co-founder & CEO of Brave Software, the software company that developed Brave. Brave Software was founded on 28th May 2015 by Brendan and Brian Bondy.

Background: How did Brave come to be?

Eich initially announced Brave on 20th January 2016. The browser aimed to offer a safer and better web browser experience. Eich wanted to provide an alternative to the typical system of providing free content to web users supported by ad revenue generated by publishers and content creators on the internet. Eich saw an underlying threat arising from the growing conflict between internet users and advertisers i.e. advertisers have increasingly enjoyed incentives to collect as well as store detailed personal information about internet users for them to create more effective ads yet internet users have become increasingly averse to the collection/storage of their personal information as well as their activities online.

Brave claims to remove intrusive internet ads and block website trackers. The browser also claims to boost online privacy by restricting data sharing with advertising customers. These claims have been supported overwhelmingly by tech product review sites like CNet and TechWorld earning the browser the title of the best secure browser available today. There have also been a few sceptics such as technology News Company Ars Technica which doesn’t find Brave’s advertising policy favourable.

Publisher contributions

Brave publishers are rewarded via a system known as Brave payments. Brave uses this system to compensate for ad blocking/substitution. The system allows users to set a budget they are willing to donate (to the sites they visit). Brave then calculates a % assigned to each site via an algorithm and publishers receive a transfer in cryptocurrency if they choose to join the system. Ars Technica has been very critical of this policy although publishers are at will to participate and users make critical decisions on ad revenue.

Operating system/release information

The browser supports all the major operating systems i.e., Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and macOS. Brave is written in three programming languages namely; C, C++, and JavaScript. Brave’s stable release on Windows, Linux, and macOS took place on 13th January 2018. The iOS and Android stable release took place on 13th and 14th December respectively.

Funding

Brave Software raised money from private investors, angel investors and leading venture capital companies. The most notable funding came from Pantera Capital, Propel Venture Partners, Foundation Capital, Digital Currency Group and FF Angel. Initial seed money amounted to $7 million ($2.5m from private investors and $4.5m from angel investors and leading venture capital firms).

Brave’s mission

Brave is branded as a web browser with users’ interests at heart. According to the founders, the web browser is on a brave mission to fix the internet by giving internet users a; safer, better and faster browsing experience, something which has been missing for decades.

Brave also offers a new and unique way of supporting content creators via an attention-based rewards ecosystem. Brave is also on a mission to change how people think about the internet. The browser is open source and built by tech professionals who are privacy-focused and performance-oriented.

Top benefits of using brave web browser

There are several incentives for switching to Brave; They include;

• Block ads and trackers: You have the power to block ads and trackers which have made it impossible to browse safely through the web. Brave protects your privacy online.

• Browse faster: Brave is 2-8 times faster than regular browsers on mobile, two times faster than regular browsers on desktop. Brave is able to offer faster speeds because of blocking ads/trackers.

• Save money: Brave promises as $23 per month saving in data charges incurred downloading ads and trackers.

• Save time: Brave’s speeds are bound to save the average internet users hundreds of hours of precious time every year. The browser goes as far as tracking the time users save which is approximately 5 seconds loading time per page on both desktop and mobile.

• Avoid infections: Brave blocks ads/trackers which reduces your chances of getting malware, spyware and ransomware attacks. Brave also has HTTPS upgrades which translate to more encrypted connections.

Brave is worth a try given the current security and privacy concerns online. In 2016 alone, malware, spyware and ransomware infections increased by a record 132%. Brave promises to deal with this problem and many others, once and for all. What’s more is the browser is by Brendan Eich a renowned technologist who also happens to be behind Mozilla, one of the most popular web browsers in use today.

If you use credit cards online, apply for loans online such as payday loans or perform other sensitive transactions online, you need the safest web browser you can get.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Risk Management Basics for Successful Investing

Risk Management Basics for Successful Investing

Introduction to risk management

Risk management is important on a business and individual level. You need to assess the risks of getting into certain investments for you to be able to choose the best investments. Risk management can be defined as the process of reducing risk. The process begins with identifying possible risks before evaluating and using available resources to monitor as well as minimise those risks.

A risk arises from uncertainty. Accidents, natural disasters, death and similar eventualities are good examples of risks. Risk management is concerned with identifying dire risks and using appropriate tools to deal with those risks. A risk prioritization process is used to identify those risks capable of causing great loss or have a higher probability of occurrence. The likelihood of an occurrence and impact of risk are the two most important factors in risk management. For instance, extensive risk management is required when the impact of risk and likelihood of occurrence is high. The opposite is true. It’s also crucial to note that risk management is an ongoing process that starts with assessment then proceeds with evaluation, management and measurement of risk before repeating the process again.

Risk source

As the name suggests, risk source is simply, the source of a risk which can either be internal or external. External risk sources are sources beyond our control. Internal risk sources are risk sources which can be controlled or managed to a certain extent. A perfect example of an external risk source is bad weather or natural calamities. We don’t have any control over such risks. Risks such as fire are internal in nature since we have a certain level of control. For instance, you can fireproof your home or business to reduce losses in case of a fire. Once you identify possible risks in any given scenario, it is time to assess those risks to identify the likelihood of occurrence followed by a risk management plan and implementation characterised by security controls/mechanisms for controlling risk.

It is worth noting that there are risks that may be present but hard to identify. A good example is a perpetual inefficiency in a company’s production process that accumulates over time translating to operational risk. Managing risk for successful investingYou must invest to gain financial independence. However, it is impossible to eliminate investment risk. You can use some investment strategies to manage investment risk which stops many people from investing like they should.

There are two main types of investment risks namely systemic risks which are risks affecting the economy and non-systemic risks which are risks affecting a company or small part of an economy. Below are important strategies to consider when managing risk.

1. Prudent asset allocation

You should include different asset classes in your investment portfolio to protect yourself against risks affecting particular asset classes. Prudent asset allocation also increases your probability of getting satisfactory returns even if one or more asset classes /investments don’t yield any returns or drops in value. Ideally, you are supposed to invest in many different asset classes, i.e. bonds, stocks, real estate, etc. as opposed to concentrating on one asset class.

2. Diversification

Diversification is similar in some ways to prudent asset allocation. The main difference is you can diversify in one asset class. For instance, instead of buying one company stock, you can buy many stocks in different categories to reduce overexposure. A perfect example would be dividing up your money and buying energy stocks, agriculture stocks, technology stocks instead of buying one stock with the same amount of money.

3. Hedging

You can also hedge to reduce investment risks. Hedging involves buying a security for the sole purpose of offsetting potential losses arising from other investments. Taking insurance is a form of hedging. It is, however, worth noting that this risk management strategy adds to the overall cost of investing which can erode returns. Hedging is also speculative in nature so it’s essential to use this strategy with caution. Ideally, you need to do thorough research to use this risk management strategy effectively.

4. Rebalancing

This is another risk management strategy ideal when you are already investing. Rebalancing involves periodically selling investments that take up a significant portion of your portfolio. As mentioned above, risk management is an ongoing process. If you assess your investments over time and realise you are overexposed in a certain asset class, it is prudent to rebalance, i.e., sell off a portion of such investments and invest in underperforming assets. Rebalancing is about selling high and buying low. In a nutshell, investing is risky. Luckily there are ways to manage risk which involve understanding the source and nature of risk and taking the necessary steps to manage or reduce those risks.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Tired of Short Term Loans? Tax Incentives You Could Be Missing Out in The UK

Tired of Short Term Loans? Tax Incentives You Could Be Missing Out in The UK

Tax breaks can provide you with a few hundred pounds every year which is adequate for catering to emergency cash needs. To avoid taking short-term loans such as payday loans, you can turn your attention to the tax incentives you could be missing out now. Besides avoiding short-term loans, tax incentives can help you build your savings account. Many tax incentives are being left on the table by Britons. Here are some of them.

1. Marriage allowance

The latest government statistics show that over 2 million married couples in Britain miss out on a £600 each (£1200) yearly marriage tax break. The total unclaimed marriage tax breaks amount to approximately £1.3 billion according to a recent freedom of information request submitted to the UK government requesting information on the tax break. Britain has approximately 4.2 million married couples and 15,000 civil unions eligible for the tax incentive. However, only 1.8 million married couples have claimed.

The incentive dates back to 2005 and couples are allowed to back-claim £632.To claim this incentive, you need to be in a civil union or marriage. Cohabiting partners aren’t eligible. You also need to be a taxpayer. However, spouses who aren’t taxpayers but are married to individuals who pay tax are still illegible to the incentive. To benefit, the lower earner must earn £11,500 or less. The tax is still applicable to individuals receiving a pension as well as those living abroad provided they are getting a personal allowance.

2. Childcare costs tax credit

You may also be missing out on working tax credit which is a tax incentive that helps with childcare costs. Working Tax Credit takes care of partial costs of childcare. You may be eligible for an additional £122.50 tax break every week for a single child or an extra £210 every week if you have two or more children. To qualify for childcare tax incentives, your kid must be minded by an approved childcare provider. Visit https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs to get more information on tax incentives relating to childcare costs in the UK.

3. Travel incentives for employees

The UK government also gives travel tax incentives to employees whose work requires traveling which disrupts the normal daily routine. Please, note this tax is not given for normal daily commutes. The incentive considers travel expenses like toll charges, parking fees, business call costs, airfare, mileage, taxi, bus and/or railway transport costs. If your work requires you to travel and make overnight stays, you may also be eligible for this tax incentive on accommodation expenses like food and drinks. Claiming this tax incentive is easy. You need to file a self-assessment tax return online or via post (print and post form P87). You can also claim by phone if you have claimed successfully before. You can get more information about this tax incentive here: https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/travel-and-overnight-expenses.

4. Food-related tax incentives

You can also claim some tax relief for food costs incurred outside your routine/pattern. Please note this tax isn’t applicable to food costs incurred when taking clients out for lunch. A person who works from home can, however, claim food costs incurred when attending a work conference. This tax applies to reasonable expenses. For instance, you can’t claim tax breaks on food expenses related to expensive wine. Visit: https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/business-income-manual/bim37670 for more information.

5. Research and development tax credits

You could also be eligible for R&D tax credits if you are a business owner. This tax incentive has been in place in the UK for years. The government put this tax incentive in place to encourage companies to spend on research and development which is considered crucial for economic growth. The incentive was also put in place to encourage investment in innovation. Currently, over 170,000 research and development claims have been submitted in the UK since 2001 according to HMRC’s Tax credit statistics. Over £16.5 billion has been claimed already as tax relief. Small business owners are claiming this tax more and more every year. In 2015-2016 for instance, SME claims increased by 22% compared to year 2014-2015 (from 17,875 to 21,856).

If you own an SME, you have an opportunity to get some tax breaks. R&D tax applies to SMEs with less than 500 employees and a turnover not exceeding 100 million. The relief is extended to research and development initiatives like software development, combining existing technologies, ownership patents as well as employment of software engineers, scientist or developers. SummaryYou probably leave a lot of money on the table in the form of unclaimed tax incentives. The information above can help you save hundreds and sometimes more than a thousand pounds every year in the form of tax breaks. You can then channel this money into your savings or emergency account to avoid over-reliance on emergency loans like payday loans.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Summary Of All Benefits Available In The UK - What Do I Qualify For? 

Summary Of All Benefits Available In The UK – What Do I Qualify For? 

There are numerous benefits available for UK Citizens. The benefits can be summarised as; benefits for families, career & disability benefits, child benefits, death benefits, heating and housing benefits, Job seekers allowance & low income benefits and tax credit benefits.

Below is a summary of those benefits. 

1. Benefits for families

UK families are entitled to numerous benefits that range from free school meals to support services for families of military and defence personnel. Free school meals are available to school going children in the UK. Information on this benefit can be found by checking your local authority’s website.

Other benefits for families include;

• Care to learn: Helps childcare expenses while you study. You must be under 20 years to qualify for this benefit.

• Carer’s Credit: This benefit is available to individuals who care for someone for 20 hours or more a week.

• Child Trust Fund: This benefit is simply a long-term tax-free saving account for children.

• Childcare Grant: This benefit is simply a grant for full-time higher education students under 15 years.

Other benefits for families include;

guardian’s allowance, healthy start, maternity allowance, maternity pay & leave, parent’s learning allowance and sure start maternity grant. Military service men and women also get benefits if they are injured in service. Their families also qualify for special benefits.

2. Carers and disability benefits

There are numerous carers and disability benefits available in the UK. They include the access to work grant which pays for practical support for individuals with disability or health/mental conditions. Other benefits include; the bereavement support payment, ESA (Employment & support allowance), Jobseeker’s allowance and universal credit just to mention a few benefits. Carer and disability benefits are for individuals with disabilities as well as their carers.

3. Child benefit

This special benefit is given to individuals responsible for a child or children under 16 years or a child under 20 years if they are receiving approved education/training.

4. Death-related benefits

UK citizens also have access to death-related benefits such as widowed parent’s allowance, bereavement payment, funeral payment, war widow(er) pension and guardian’s allowance. These benefits are accorded to families to help them cope when a family member dies.

5. Heating and housing benefits

These benefits include winter fuel payment, cold weather payment, and the warm home discount. The benefits are passed over to UK households to help them cater for their heating and housing payments i.e. pay home heating bills during winter. UK households can also benefit from tax reductions, lower rent, etc. through heating and housing benefits. These benefits are usually accorded to low-income households as well as individuals who are unemployed in the UK.

6. Jobseeker’s allowance & low income benefits

As the name suggests, these benefits are given to individuals who are either seeking employment or in the low-income segment. Jobseeker’s allowance & low-income benefits include but aren’t limited to; constant attendance allowance, employment & support allowance, income support, In work credit, reduced earnings allowance, SMI (Support for Mortgage Interest) and pension credit.

7. Tax credits

UK citizens also get a variety of tax credits such as; child tax credit and working tax credit. Child tax credit is given to individuals responsible for children who are 16 years or less, under 20 if the children in question are in eligible education/training. Working tax credit is offered to individuals aged between 16 and 24 years who have a child. Individuals who are aged 25 and above can also qualify for a working tax credit with/without children. You must, however, fall below a certain income level and work for a specified number of hours weekly.

For more information on the benefits available in the UK as well as the criteria/requirements for enjoying those benefits,

visit https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.