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Showing posts from June 9, 2013

Is it worth transferring £30k stakeholder pension

Stakeholder pensions are a form of simple personal pension which sees you save money into a pot - topped up by tax relief - which is handled by a pensions provider who invests it on your behalf. Schemes must meet minimum government requirements, with management charges capped at 1.5 per cent and no charge levied if you transfer to another stakeholder pension provider.   More... Can I pay extra into the second state pension so I get more than £144-a-week flat rate in 2016? SIPP vs stakeholder: how to choose the right type of personal pension Retiring soon? Get an annuity quote Is equity release right for you? Check this free guide There are a few notable differences between the two pensions: Standard Life offers 30 investment funds to choose from, along with five 'lifestyle options' in which money is automatically invested into funds based on your risk profile. Scottish Widows meanwhile offers 35 investment funds and six lifestyle profiles. While both charge a 1 per cent a

My new flat is damaged and filthy! How can I get my landlord to fix the problems?

> Isr the landlord required to fix these problems and what is the best way to approach the issue? EW Nasty surprise: Many renters are dismayed to find problems in their new home Andrew Davidson, a landlord and tenant solicitor on the Contact Law solicitor network, says: Landlords are obliged to ensure that there are no issues with the structure, exterior, electrical, heating, hot water or sanitary conditions. Unless otherwise stated in your lease, as the tenant you are responsible for minor non-essential repairs and cosmetic issues. You also have an obligation to keep the property in good repair, not counting ordinary wear-and-tear.   More... My boiler is broken but my landlord doesn't seem to care! What are my rights? Are you a landlord? Find buy-to-let insurance deals here Find a solicitor In your case, to begin with you should make a list of the defects to the property and decide which ones you think come under the landlord’s obligations. This is somewhat subjective

How do I make sure a second-hand car hasn't been stolen or written off?

Linda McKay, of This is Money, replies: One in three cars has a hidden history, according to vehicle checkers HPI. That means buying a second hand car can be gamble, as many unsuspecting people have been caught out by unscrupulous sellers who fail to declare finance or accident histories. But you need not find yourself out of pocket and at risk on the road. I asked our experts for advice on your behalf.   More... ASK THE EXPERTS: 'I live with and care for my mother but I'll be made homeless when she dies' How younger drivers can beat the car insurance trap - and even drive a more exciting car Can you find a better car insurance deal? Gavin Hill-Smith, of the AA, replies: When you're looking for a second-hand car, dealers are generally the safest route. You'll get the maximum legal protection with the least risk.   Buying privately can save you some money upfront, but you won't be protected legally if the car doesn't come up to scratch. It's up

I have the wrong tax code and the taxman keeps raiding my pay

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I'm working at McDonalds, but the tax code that I have been allocated is BR, which causes a huge deduction on my paycheck. I read online that this code is used for someone who has more than one job, but I only have one. Is that tax code correct for me and, if not, what can I do to change it? JR McDonalds: Employee believes he may have been tax too much by HMRC. How to check your tax code. Patrick O'Brien, of HMRC, adds: The code 'BR', is used when all income is taxed at the basic rate - currently 20 per cent, most commonly used for a second job or pension. You should contact HMRC as soon as possible on 0845 300 0627 so we can correct your code and get any tax they have overpaid back to you. Any overpaid tax for 2012/13 tax year will be repaid as part of our annual end of year reconciliation process. Please visit the HMRC site for a list of tax codes and what they mean.   More... How to check and challenge your tax code Find a solicitor Find an independ

I want to raise money to expand my business. Where should I go for the cash?

Danny Cox, of investment specialist Hargreaves Lansdown, says: Your bank would normally be your first port of call since it will be more familiar with your business, the person running it and your current cash flow position.  To extend lending or overdrafts they may decide to use the house in Italy as security, although using an overseas property is unlikely. An alternative would be to take a mortgage on the Italy property.   More... How to get a mortgage if you are are a small business owner or self-employed Why businesses are flocking to lend-to-save Could you be eligible for a business loan with Funding Circle? Another would be to consider peer to peer lenders such as Funding Circle, where a collective number of private investors might lend the money they need.   A business plan setting out how much money is required, what it will be used for and the anticipated repayment timescale will help with any loan application. This doesn’t have to be pages and pages,

Can I take my late wife's unused IHT allowance?

> P.H.replies: The inheritance tax nil rate band for tax year 1996-97 was £200,000. The unused proportion (13/200ths) can be transferred to you at the rate applying on your own death. The nil rate band is now fixed at £325,000 until April 2018, so if you died before then the allowance would be increased by £21,125 – 13/200ths x £325,000. To claim this additional allowance, the executor of your will would need copies of your wife’s will (and any deed of variation), the IHT return for her estate, details of any jointly owned assets that passed to you or others on her death and any gifts she made in the seven years before her death.   More... Could equity release be a good option for you? find out using our fere guide Can you find a better annuities deal? Find an independent financial adviser When would you need a specialist will solicitor? Pension confusion K.P.writes: I was receiving pension credit but the payment stopped after I inherited some money.  I cannot make sense of the

Living abroad has wiped out our credit history, what can we do?

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My partner and I have lived abroad for the past 11 years. We have just sold our property and we now want to return home to the UK, where we lived for more than 40 years before moving away. We are looking at getting a mortgage, but it would appear that no financial institution will consider us because they say they are unable to obtain a credit check on us. We both have government pensions that give us enough income to cover any mortgage repayments and, while we lived abroad, we used our UK bank and credit cards. As we have no debts we find it very strange that we can't get a mortgage. How long does it take to build up enough information to obtain a credit check so that we can get the ball rolling and get ourselves a mortgage? Returning home: How can you build up a positive credit history while living abroad.   More... How to improve and protect your credit rating How to get out of debt: Your ten-step plan to getting your finances back under control LETTER TEMPLATE: Cr

How can I clear CCJs if debt collectors have gone missing?

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> When I eventually found out about the CCJs, I contacted the debt agency acting on the behalf of the lenders to offer a settlement so I could clear my credit file. Late last year the debt agency contacted me saying that the original debt collection office dealing with my case in Liverpool had closed and the operation had been transferred to Ireland. They suggested I try to make contact with the respective banks directly. I worry that I will just hit a dead end, but I really want to clear these entries off my file - do you have any advice? Trouble locating your lenders? A credit check could point you in the right direction   More... How to improve and protect your credit rating Are your debts mounting up? Read our guide for some help in getting back into the black Lenders gear up for tougher credit checks LETTER TEMPLATE: Credit report errors Free Trial: Could checking your credit report help you out of a sticky situation? Linda McKay, of This is Money, replies: We are a

My husband died three years ago, why don't I get any of his annuity payments?

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> I really would like to know where my husband's money has gone. He was quite astute regarding investments. J.D. Lake District. Nasty shock: Many spouses stand to receive nothing from their partner's annuity when they die because they haven't chosen a joint life product. Adam Uren, of This is Money, says: It seems that you have fallen victim to what has been a stain on the pensions industry for years, and that is only just now being addressed. For years pension holders have defaulted into their pension provider's standard annuity offerings, with many not realising that they need to shop around to find the best deals and, most importantly, the right annuity for them. Now, I can't speculate on what process your husband went through when he bought his annuity, but Prudential has confirmed that he took out a single life annuity which included a tax-free lump sum of £11,964 in 2002.   More... Will pension providers finally help their customers get the best valu

Thomson won't pay out over four hour flight delay compensation

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I am hoping you can help us with a claim for a delayed flight on 13th of February 2013 to Cancun Mexico. My wife and I booked the holiday through Thomson flying from Gatwick at 9.15am. We live in South Wales, a 4 hour drive from Gatwick, and therefore travelled through the night to check-in at 07.15am. Boarding was delayed and we were told there would be a hold up because of technical problems - a hydraulic leak. We eventually boarded the plane at midday but were then further delayed by 1 hour 30 minutes while a seat was repaired.  Compensation plea: Passengers delayed at Manchester airport at Thomson check-in desk. They said these delays were beyond their control and we were offered free Premium films on board to compensate for our delay. In total we were delayed over 4 hours. So instead of arriving at our hotel mid-afternoon we arrived at 7 in the evening very tired and went straight to bed losing the first night of our holiday. I believe that under Regulation (EC) 261/2004 we

Thomson won't pay out over four hour flight delay compensation

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I am hoping you can help us with a claim for a delayed flight on 13th of February 2013 to Cancun Mexico. My wife and I booked the holiday through Thomson flying from Gatwick at 9.15am. We live in South Wales, a 4 hour drive from Gatwick, and therefore travelled through the night to check-in at 07.15am. Boarding was delayed and we were told there would be a hold up because of technical problems - a hydraulic leak. We eventually boarded the plane at midday but were then further delayed by 1 hour 30 minutes while a seat was repaired.  Compensation plea: Passengers delayed at Manchester airport at Thomson check-in desk. They said these delays were beyond their control and we were offered free Premium films on board to compensate for our delay. In total we were delayed over 4 hours. So instead of arriving at our hotel mid-afternoon we arrived at 7 in the evening very tired and went straight to bed losing the first night of our holiday. I believe that under Regulation (EC) 261/2004 we

Asky Tony insurance wouldn't cover Travelodge cancellation after snow

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7 View comments I booked a one-night stay at the Carlisle Travelodge on the M6. On the day we were supposed to travel, there were amber weather warnings and we were asked not to drive unless absolutely necessary. I had taken cancellation insurance so called off the booking and asked for a refund. But I have been informed that I cannot have one unless my journey was a departure by aircraft, sea vessel, coach or  a train delayed for more than six hours. I feel they are being extremely harsh as the only mode of transport possible would have been a snow plough. Our car was buried in snow on the drive and the conditions were exceptionally bad. Mrs S. M., via email. Travelodge was mystified when I contacted them because it had not heard from you. It seems there’s been a bit of a mix-up here. You applied to the insurance company for a refund, rather than directly to Travelodge. The insurance you had taken was designed to cover delays when traveling by train or plane. The insu

Miquita Oliver faces bankruptcy due to unpaid tax bill

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79 View comments Former T4 presenter Miquita Oliver is facing bankruptcy after failing to pay a tax bill of more than £174,000, according to a firm of accountants. A statement from the firm, Baker Tilly confirmed that the HM Revenue and Customs had petitioned for the star to be declared bankrupt due to unpaid taxes on 11 November last year. The 27-year-old is perhaps best known for presenting Popworld with Simon Amstell in the early part of the last decade.  Facing bankruptcy: The TV presenter Miquita Oliver was a bridesmaid at childhood friend Lily Allen's wedding last year. She left the Channel 4 show in 2006 but continued to present on T4 and has also hosted shows on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra. She also went on to work on the 4Music channel and was a bridesmaid at the wedding of childhood friend Lily Allen last year.   More... How the rich and famous use a tax loophole to pay just 21% income tax - and how you can do the same Her publicist said: 'We can confi

Miquita Oliver faces bankruptcy due to unpaid tax bill

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149 View comments Former T4 presenter Miquita Oliver is facing bankruptcy after failing to pay a tax bill of more than £174,000, according to a firm of accountants. A statement from the firm, Baker Tilly confirmed that the HM Revenue and Customs had petitioned for the star to be declared bankrupt due to unpaid taxes on 11 November last year. The 27-year-old is perhaps best known for presenting Popworld with Simon Amstell in the early part of the last decade.  Facing bankruptcy: The TV presenter Miquita Oliver was a bridesmaid at childhood friend Lily Allen's wedding last year. She left the Channel 4 show in 2006 but continued to present on T4 and has also hosted shows on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra.  She also went on to work on the 4Music channel and was a bridesmaid at the wedding of childhood friend Lily Allen last year. Her publicist said: 'We can confirm that Miquita Oliver filed for bankruptcy in November 2011. She has many projects in the pipeline both here and

How rich is Alan Titchmarsh?

0 View comments   In the latest in our Celebrity Money series, examining how the rich and famous made their fortunes, we look at TV presenter, gardener and 'unlikely sex symbol' Alan Titchmarsh... Ever-green: Alan Titchmarsh has signed an £11m deal with ITV At his age many people would be thinking of retiring but earlier this year green-fingered genius Alan Titchmarsh signed an £11m deal with ITV to front a new gardening programme, four more seasons of his talk show and other peak time shows. The 61-year-old star will receive £5m for fronting a new show to rival Gardeners' World - the BBC series he hosted for six years until 2002 - as well as four more seasons of his daytime talk show The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Production company Spun Gold will get the rest of the cash in the two-year deal.   More... How rich are Ant and Dec? Sprinkle some Alan Titshmarsh magic on your garden with his new range of garden seeds Titchmarsh was born in Ilkley in York

Amanda Knox signs book deal with HarperCollins after publishing battle

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7 View comments After months of tense battling between 20 publishers desperate for a big money windfall in the long run, Amanda Knox finally has a book deal. Knox, 24, of Seattle, Washington, has signed for a reported $4million with HarperCollins to write about her murder conviction and acquittal in Italy. While the deal will be respite for her family who spent $1million just dealing with her trial, it will provoke anger from her alleged victim's relatives. Deal: Amanda Knox, whose conviction and eventual acquittal of murder charges made headlines worldwide, has an agreement with HarperCollins to tell her story Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-s

Spanx founder Sara Blakely becomes youngest self-made woman to join Forbes' World Billionaires list

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0 View comments So famous is Spanx, that whenever a we see a glimpse of a celebrity's slimming undergarments, the brand name almost inevitably appears in the headline. And it seems that the A-list aren't the only ones, as the company's founder, Sara Blakley, appears this week on the cover of Forbes' Billionaires issue. The 41-year-old, who originally hails from Florida but is now based in New York, is the youngest self-made woman to make the list. Hose that girl? Sara Blakely is Forbes' youngest self-made billionaire thanks to the invention of Spanx Fashionable: Ms Blakely has worked hard to associate her product with glamour The magazine reveals how the founder of a company that is estimated to be worth about $1billion is scared of heights, flying and speaking in public. And yet despite these crippling fears, Ms Blakely, has made her fortune largely as a one-woman show, travelling cross-country for in-store demonstrations and taking customer se

Richest Rappers of 2012: Diddy crowned the new King of Hip-Hop

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8 View comments Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs has eclipsed Jay-Z to be crowned Hip-Hop's Wealthiest Artist 2012. Diddy has accumulated a net worth of $550million (£345million) significantly surpassing his closest rival Jay-Z who topped the list in 2011 but has now claimed second place with a net worth of $460million (£288million) according to the Forbes Five, a short list of hip-hop’s wealthiest moguls. Diddy’s fortune has been built over his 15 years in the industry and is also the product of his own illustrious rap career and several successful business ventures including his record label Bad Boy Records which he founded in 1993 and since then has been home to a number of successful artists including The Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans and Mase. Richest rapper: Sean 'Diddy' Combs surpassed Jay-Z with £345million Diddy has also focused his energies on ventures away from the hip hop industry such as his stakes in his celebrated clothing lines, Sean John and Enyce, m

THE INTERVIEW: Phones¿4U founder John Caudwell is happy to be Britain's top taxpayer

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1 View comments Attack: John Caudwell, with partner Claire Johnson, was battered during a raid at his Broughton Hall home As a small boy growing up  in a cramped terrace house in a suburb of Stoke- on-Trent, John Caudwell dreamed of driving around in a Rolls-Royce handing out fivers. ‘My father was unwell when I was 11 and died when I was 18. My mother going to work at seven every morning and returning every evening to look after him, me and my brother left its mark on me,’ he says. ‘The trauma that lack of money and ill health creates made me realise that financial security was very important, but, equally, so was good health.’ Now the man who netted nearly £1.5 billion from selling his Phones 4U mobile phone empire in 2006 is so rich that he is estimated to be the biggest taxpayer in Britain, handing £165 million to the Revenue in the past four years. That will rise by another £120 million by the end of next January, he reckons. At a time when high earners are fleeing

How rich is Johnny Depp?

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0 View comments Forbes calculated Johnny Depp to be Hollywood’s second highest paid actor in 2012, earning $30million. In the latest in our series on celebrity money, we look at how Depp made his millions. He may have played some strange roles but Depp's got his head screwed on when it comes to cash. Born in 1963, the actor first became a teen idol due to his role on 1980s TV show 21 Jump Street. Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow in 2006 He soon moved to the big screen, specialising in quirky oddball characters such as the title characters in Edward Scissorhands and What's Eating Gilbert Grape? £110M FOR VANESSA - THE 'WIFE' HE NEVER WED Johnny Depp’s former partner Vanessa Paradis, 38, is set to receive half of Depp’s hundreds of millions. French singer, actress and former Chanel model is most recognised for her 14 year relationship with Depp.  Although they never married, there are claims that Depp will be handing over half of his

Jeremy Clarkson lands a bumper £5m payday - the Top Gear star's road to riches

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11 shares 18 View comments Rolling on it: Clarkson has turned his love of cars into a serious money-spinner and landed a £5m windfall from his Top Gear stake. Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson has landed himself a reported £5m bumper payday by selling his production company stake to the BBC The windfall steps the wealth of the television presenter and journalist up another hefty notch – not bad for a man who has previously declared he is not a fan of money. Clarkson, 52, told a BBC interviewer in 2009: 'I'm literally not the slightest bit interested in money. I just don't pay any attention to money, it's rather vulgar.' The BBC has bought out the stakes owned by Clarkson and the show’s executive producer Andy Wilman in firm Bedder 6, which the pair set up five years ago to cash in on the Top Gear brand. To many Clarkson's reward will be considered richly deserved thanks to his pulling power and hard work in building up the Top Gear brand. As

How rich is Terry Wogan?

0 View comments   Veteran radio and television presenter Sir Terry Wogan revealed in his most recent TV outing 'Terry Wogan's Ireland' (a personal documentary-style trip down memory lane to the land of his birth) that his first job was as a bank clerk with the Royal Bank of Ireland handling wads of cash and coins. Terry Wogan: Reports suggest he is now worth well over £20m That was 50 years ago, when Sir Terry routinely lugged bag loads of banknotes and coins in a bus across Dublin to the bank's headquarters. Today he would struggle to carry his own vast stash, which reports suggest is now worth well over £20m. The 72-year-old, who is married with two sons and a daughter, has accumulated his cash pile over five decades since switching from banking to broadcasting in the late 1950s. Starting out with Irish national radio and television, he came to Britain in the late 60s where he steadily gained fame and fortune through presenting initially a BBC Rad

How rich is Lord Alan Sugar? The Apprentice star's wealth

0 View comments   In the latest in our series on celebrity money, we look at how Lord Sugar, star of The Apprentice, built his empire and what he's worth today. Sugar rush: He has amassed a fortune through hard graft Baron Sugar of Clapton could be a character out of a child's storybook. Something along the lines of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or the Mister Men series perhaps? There is certainly a fairy tale quality to the former Alan now Lord Sugar's rags to riches story. He may be more frog than prince to many observers but the electronics-turned-property entrepreneur, television star and professional Mr Grumpy, certainly made it big through hard graft. He famously started out with just £100 in 1967, selling aerials out of the back of a van and the journey to success and his current £730m wealth is charted in minute detail in his recently-published 600-page autobiography What You See is What You Get. Born in to a poor Jewish family in 194