QB18.15 has been released and is on its way to subscribers. It replaces 18.10 which runs up to the 1st Feb. QB 18.15 is a minor update and extends the ‘life’ of Quick Benefits Calculator 18 to 1st April 2015. By having fixed release and update periods the QBC can be updated by Lisson Grove Benefits Program to reflect changes to rules and rates introduced by local authority council tax schemes; as well as changes to benefits introduced by the government. The tax year and the new benefit rates start on the 6th April 2015.
The new council tax reduction scheme means that it is very important to tell the Quick Benefits Calculator which local authority or council you want to base the council tax reduction on. If you don’t do that then the QBC assumes that the national scheme applies and any figures you enter will be worked out on the basis of the national scheme. In Wales local councils have less power to implement their own scheme than they do in England or Scotland. Each English local council has the power to its own scheme. If they don’t have one then the government’s national scheme applies and the local council loses subsidy from the national government. The government’s national council tax reduction scheme is the default scheme for the QBC. So if you do not tell the QBC which local council applies the QBC will apply the national scheme.
When you enter the council tax liability for the claimant you should start by choosing the claimant’s local council. You do that by clicking the “select local authority” button on the council tax reduction (CTR) screen. Once you do that you are taken to a separate screen called the “Find the local authority” screen. You can type the name or the postcode into the search box and the Quick Benefits Calculator will start to display the names of the local authorities. You then choose the local council you want – either click the name of the local council or press enter if there is one and you are taken back to the CTR screen.
Quick Benefits Calculator 18, for Tax Year 2014 to 2015, has been released and is being gradually posted out to subscribers. Users will be getting their CD in the post over the next few days. If you haven’t got it by 6th April when the new year starts you should speak to the IT or admin. people in your organisation to check they do not have it. If you work for a large group or company you may find it helpful to contact them soon to make them aware of its importance.