A heap of new legislation is coming into effect over the coming weeks, and a lot of it will affect you.
Motorists could be hit by huge bills as a result of a shake-up, while employers will have to reveal whether there is a gender pay gap.
It will also cost a lot more to renew passports, and there will be changes to Universal Credit.
A list of changes which you need to be aware of has been produced by Gloucestershire Live .
Here are some of the things set to change:
Gender pay gap
Employers in England, Wales and Scotland with at least 250 employees will be required to publish information about the differences in pay between men and women in their workforce, based on a pay bill ‘snapshot’ date of 5 April 2017, under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017.
The first reports must be published by April 4 .
The cost of the British passport is set to soar and for the first time ever you will have to pay extra to apply by post.
A standard adult passport will go up from the current price of £72.50 to £75.50 for online applications and £85 for postal applications.
Children’s passport charges will rise from £46 to £49 online and £58.50 in the post.
The £12.50 increase for the postal service represents a jump of 17 per cent for adults and 27 per cent for children.
And with the Post Office check and send costing an extra £9.75, anyone wanting to use that service from March 27 is set to have to pay £94.75.
Adults choosing to apply online would still be paying less than they would have in 2009, with passport fees having decreased in 2012.
The changes have nothing to do with the UK leaving the EU.
New car tax rules
The Government says car tax for the first year is based on CO2 emissions.
It could be as low as nothing, or as high as £2,000, and there is a sliding scale in between.
For the second and subsequent years the amount of tax paid is £140 for petrol and diesel vehicles.
It’s £130 for alternative fuel vehicles such as hybrids, bioethanol and LPG.
And nothing for vehicles with zero emissions.
This is the year when many drivers who bought new last year will see the new second-year charges apply to them for the first time.
And there are some new rules. They mostly affect drivers of new diesel cars.
All new diesel cars from April 1 will face going up a band if they fail to meet the latest Euro 6 standards under real-world testing.
Experts say a new Ford Focus might see an increase of £20 in the first-year rate while a Porsche Cayenne will see a rise of £500.
There is an exemption – the changes only apply to diesel cars, not vans or commercial vehicles.
Those with genuine zero emissions will pay nothing.
Those with emissions of 1-50 g/CO2/km will pay £10, those with emissions of 51-70 will pay £25, and so on.
At the top of the scale those with emissions over £255 will pay £2,000.
Everyone will revert to the flat rate of £140 in the second year.
All cars that cost more than £40,000 attract an extra premium fee of £310 for years two to six of ownership, regardless of emissions.
It is the final list price of the car that determines if it passes the threshold – so if you buy a cheaper car and add lots of extras you still have to pay the premium fee.
Experts say electric cars which cost more than £40,000 will no longer be the tax-busting option they used to be.
The motoring press suggests that German-made cars will face big increases.
Petrolprices.com says the emphasis on actual real-world emissions, in the wake of the emissions scandal, will affect drivers of German cars in particular.
New cars also face tough new tests.
Euro 6 standards have been being introduced on a rolling programme since September and are said to produce the cleanest cars in history.
Four Universal Credit changes
The Department for Work and Pensions believe the Universal Credit system is working, the Birmingham Mail reports .
The four key benefit cuts coming in to force on April 9 are:
– Year three of the four-year cash freeze in working age benefits, affecting almost 11 million families.
– The 3% real terms cut in working age benefits this year is set to be by far the biggest of the four-year benefit freeze.
– A two child limit for benefit claims, costing up to £2,780 for a family having a third child. This will affect 150,000 families.
– Withdrawal of the family element of support for new tax credit and universal credit claims from families with children, costing up to £545 and affecting 400,000 families.
The rollout of Universal Credit , saving £200m this year due to lower entitlements than the existing benefit system for long term sick and working families in particular.
You can read more about other changes to benefits here .
The government plans to make changes to the taxation of termination payments from April 2018 .
The proposals include:
- removing the distinction between contractual and non-contractual PILONs (payments in lieu of notice) so that all PILONs are taxable and subject to Class 1 NICs
- ensuring that the first £30,000 of a termination payment remains exempt from income tax and that any payment paid to any employee that relates solely to the termination of the employment continues to have an unlimited employee NICs exemption
- aligning the rules for income tax and employer NICs so that employer NICs will be payable on payments above £30,000 (which are currently only subject to income tax)
Employment Allowance changes
The government plans to introduce a further deterrent to the employment of illegal workers.
From April 2018 , employers will not be able to claim the Employment Allowance for one year if they have:
- hired an illegal worker
- been penalised by the Home Office
- exhausted all appeal rights against that penalty.
Minimum Energy Performance Ratings
From April 1 2018 , there will be a requirement for any privately rented properties to have a minimum energy performance rating of E.
The government has announced it will be unlawful to rent out a property which breaches this minimum rating.
A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for landlords who do – meaning properties which fall in the F or G category will no longer be acceptable.