As of the 8th of April 2014 Microsoft will cease support of the Windows XP OS (Operating System). Originally launched in 2001 it has been Microsoft’s most successful operating system. They tried to convince people to upgrade to Windows Vista in 2005 but many had upgraded to XP service pack 2 around the same time so didn’t want to incur extra cost or the hassle of having to change their OS.
What does support ending mean?
It means there will be no more upgrades. Patch Tuesday (the day of the week Microsoft release their updates and patches) will be no more. It means that XP machines will no longer receive security patches, meaning they will face greater risks of targeted hacking attacks.
It also means that when companies such as Thesaurus Software and banks update the security certificates (which are renewed every few years) for their websites, XP users will not receive these new patches from Microsoft. Therefore, when users visit these sites they will get security warnings, or could be blocked by their computer altogether.
When should you upgrade?
Like with windows 95, 98 and 2000, your existing programs will continue to work as normal, your computer will not suddenly stop working just because Microsoft stops supporting it! However as technology moves on XP will become eventually obsolete. Couple that with the fact that as a machine gets older it inevitably slows down and becomes less reliable. So while there is no major rush to go out and buy new machines a plan should be put in place to upgrade your systems in the near future.
Will my payroll program still work on XP?
Both Thesaurus Payroll Manager and BrightPay will continue to work on XP and they will continue to work for the foreseeable future. We at Thesaurus will continue to support our programs and assist customers who use XP. However as Thesaurus and other companies update their digital certificates some XP users may experience difficulties using certain aspects of the program (Creating bank files, upgrades etc).
ROS Certificates issued by Revenue normally have a two-year validity, after which time customers must renew the Certificate to retain access to ROS.
However, as part of its ongoing security measures, Revenue updated the ROS Certificate Authority on 13th January 2014 and all Certificates issued by the old Authority will now expire on 27th March 2014.
From February 24th/25th 2014, customers will be presented with the Certificate Renewal screen when they login to ROS. Customers should renew their Certificate when presented with this opportunity to ensure continued access to ROS. Step by step instructions are provided and this procedure will take less than 2 minutes to complete. The digital certificate renewal process applies to all digital certificates.
If you are using a ROS Certificate within an application, then it is important that you plan to renew this Certificate before 27th March. As there is no option to renew from within your application, you will need to login to ROS with that Certificate in order to complete the renewal and then replace the old Certificate used by your application.
It may be coming earlier this year, but the expectations are that the Budget won’t be as tough as those that have gone before it. While we won’t know for sure the full impact of this year’s “adjustment” until next Tuesday, it’s likely that – at first glance at least – the measures to be announced won’t cut as deeply as the austerity budgets that have preceded it.
The major tax revenue raising measure in this year’s exercise is likely to be one we are all already starting to come to terms with – Local Property Tax.
Introduced earlier this year, the tax, which is levied on the value of properties across the State, has already generated about €200 million. However, familiarity won’t ease the pain when the full year impact comes into effect in January and it’s still likely to cause some pain. Apart from that, the perception is now that people can’t simply afford to give up any more income. There is just no bite left to take from the apple.
Given the particularly onerous hit those on lower incomes have already taken, we’re unlikely to see any changes to either tax rates or bands. So, by and large, families may emerge from this budget with a similar amount in their take-home pay each month, couple with the recent announcement that children under 5 will receive free GP visits means this budget will be an easier one on the pocket for Irish people.
Higher earners, particularly those coming close to retirement, may be hit by the likely diminution in the maximum pension fund allowable for tax purposes.
Families with public sector employees are unlikely to see any specific measures aimed at them, given that a lot of their terms and conditions are being dealt with in the Haddington Road agreement.
Still, while the headlines might be thankfully free of major tax hikes next Tuesday, the Government is likely to look to raise additional tax revenues in a more insidious fashion.
As always any changes or updates to taxation rules will be catered for in the 2014 Thesaurus Payroll Manager and 2014 BrightPay.