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Important dates for your savings diary

Stay on top of your money with our guide to 2011

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As 2011 approaches, many of you will be looking to start afresh and get your financial affairs in order, beginning with making sure your savings are growing at the best rate they can. 

Fortunately, Which? has picked out the essential dates in the coming year that will play a part in ensuring you get the most out of your money.

December 31st 2010 – FSCS limit increases to £85,000

In order to harmonise compensation levels with the rest of Europe, the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) limit will increase to £85,000 per person, per financial institution. This means that those of you with a joint savings account will enjoy protection of up to £170,000 for your savings.

January 18th 2011 – latest inflation figures published

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes monthly inflation figures, a key issue for the value of your savings. The last figures, published for November, showed that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation was 3.3%, while the Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation was 4.7%.

You need to ensure that your savings have the highest rate possible in order to beat inflation. Use our unique Savings Booster tool to see what rate you’re currently on and how to switch to a better account.

January 31st 2011 – Online Self Assessment tax returns online deadline

If you send your tax return online, it must reach HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) by midnight on January 31st 2011. If HMRC receives your tax return after the deadline you will be charged an automatic £100 penalty.

Additionally, any overdue tax payments from the 2009/10 tax year must be paid by January 31st 2011.

April 5th 2011 – End of the 2010/11 tax year for Isa savings

Isas are an essential part of maximising your savings. No tax is payable on the income received from Isa savings and investments, nor is tax on capital gains arising from investments.

You can save up to £5,100 into a cash Isa or £10,200 into a stocks and shares Isa until April 5th 2011. The following day, the 2011/12 tax year begins and you will have a new Isa savings limit within which to save.

From April 6th 2011, the Isa limits will be increasing in line with RPI on annual basis, so you will have a greater capacity for saving. Check out our guide to the best cash Isas to find out more.

October 31st 2011 – Paper Self Assessment tax returns deadline

If you send a paper tax return, this must be completed and returned to HMRC by midnight October 31st 2011. If you miss this deadline, you face a £100 fine.

First Thursday of every month – MPC decision on interest rates

A key question on everyone’s lips this year is whether or not the Bank of England will decide to lift interest rates to tackle the UK’s growing inflation problems. If it decides to do so, this may be good news for savers but not so great for borrowers and bond holders.

The meeting of the Monetary Policy Commission (MPC) usually occurs on the first Wednesday of every month, with a decision on interest rates announced on the Thursday. Expect the announcements on interest rates to happen on 12 January, 10 February, 10 March, 7 April, 5 May, 9 June, 7 July, 4 August, 8 September, 6 October, 10 November and 8 December 2011.

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