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Thursday, 2 October 2014

TAX DISC TO MINIMUM WAGE: CHECK OUT UK NEW LAWS AND HOW IT AFFECTS YOU!

Rarely do you wake up a find the world a different place. Although today you could be doing just that, as a number of new laws come into force for the first time.

After almost a hundred years, paper tax discs are finally being abolished and it is now a criminal offence to copy other people's registered designs.



From the NHS to HMRC, here are the highlights of this week's new laws:

The abolition of the paper tax disc

The paper tax disc, first issued on January 1, 1921, has finally had its day. Now cameras are used to enforce most road laws and they detect number plates rather than paper tax discs. Also, the DVLA has digital records of who has and has not paid vehicle tax, again, rendering paper records unnecessary.

So from October 1, 2014 you no longer need to display your paper tax disc on your car. In fact, you can remove and destroy it, even if it is months away from its expiry date.

However, you still need to pay vehicle tax and the DVLA will send you a renewal reminder when your tax disc is about to expire.

If you buy or sell a car, your old tax disc can no longer be transferred. You will need to get new vehicle tax for a new car before you can start driving.

If you sell a car after October 1 and you have told DVLA, you can get a refund for any remaining months left on the vehicle tax.

You can now pay your vehicle tax by direct debit, either monthly, annually or biannually, but be a five per cent surcharge will apply to biannual and monthly payments.

National minimum wage

From October 1, national minimum wage will rise to £6.50 for people age 21 and over (up 19p), to £5.13 for 18-20 year-olds (up 10p), to £3.79 for those under 18 (up 7p) and to £2.73 for apprentices are in their first year or aged 16-18.

Mash-ups now ok

The Intellectual Property Act 2014 made various minor changes to the Patents Act 1977 and all these all come into effect on October 1.

Aimed at simplifying copyright law, cutting red tape and saving money for small businesses, the changes strengthen design protection and make it a criminal offence to copy registered designs.

Patented products will need to be marked with a web address and unpublished patent applications can be shared to help clear the backlog that the Patent office has to deal with.

Another change to Design and Patent law means that mash-ups are now given greater protection under the law, if they are deemed sufficiently funny .

From now on, if you file a return on paper (form SDLT1, 3 and 4), you need to enter a valid Local Authority code if you don’t, your return will be rejected.

Children and Families

Prospective fathers or a mother’s partner can now take unpaid time off to attend up to two antenatal appointments.

This is part of the Children and Families Act, which was given royal assent earlier this year.

Help to Buy

As of today, all Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee loans will have to have a loan of income ratio of 4.5 to one.

Mortgage lenders will be prevented from extending more than 15 per cent of new mortgages at a loan to income ratio of 4.5 to one or greater.

Victims of aggressive commercial practise

There will be a new set of rights for victims of misleading and aggressive commercial practices. People can now take their own civil actions to try and get compensation where they have lost out.

Alcohol

Home Office measures come into force on alcohol licensing which ban pubs and clubs from promoting irresponsible drinking games, as well as a range of other measures intended to promote responsible drinking. They include requiring bar staff to tell customers that smaller-size drinks such as 125ml glasses of wine are available.

Inheritence

The so-called Rules of Intestacy, which govern what happens to the money of someone who dies without a will, have undergone their first major change since 1925. They mean larger inheritences for spouses and less for the parents and children of the deceased, while common law partners are still entitled to nothing.

NHS

A legal duty of candour for hospitals , one of the key recommendations made by Robert Francis QC, the chairman of the Stafford inquiry, will come into force on October 1.

The duty applies to health and adult social care providers of regulated activities and is enforced by the CQC.

However, it falls short of Mr Francis’ original recommendation , which was that the duty should be placed on NHS trusts and also on individual staff, which would mean they were legally obliged to disclose incidents which cause harm, and could be prosecuted for failing to do so.

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