The UK Government is phasing out Tax Credits and replacing them with Universal Credit. HMRC continue to introduce this new benefit in stages and in selected areas during the roll out.
CLAIM TAX CREDITS: Use this guide to find out how to claim tax credits until you are eligible for Universal Credit.
New claimants for tax credits should order a claim form by:
As a rule the claim form will take up to 2 weeks to arrive.
The claim form is not for informing the Tax Credit Office about changes that affect your tax credits. Singles can apply for tax credits as well as a couple for a 'joint claim'.
Claimants cannot get Tax Credits and claim for Universal Credit at the same time.
What happens when you call to ask for a claim form? The Tax Credits Office want some basic information from you before they send the form.
The details you provide helps them to gather an estimate of how much could get. They will ask you to confirm:
The address where to send the tax credits form is on the document. You can also deliver it to your Jobcentre Plus if you already have rights to benefits. Those who live in Northern Ireland should take it to their Social Security Office.
Giving the wrong information can result in a penalty up to £3,000. This applies even if you gave inaccurate details:
Note: Making a mistake but taking reasonable care in the provision of information means you will not get a penalty.
The Tax Credits claim form comes with guidance notes. Further advice is also available from the Tax Credit Helpline or your benefits office. Another person can call the helpline on your behalf.
But, to discuss your claim, the person will need to apply for authorisation. They will need to become an appointee to manage payments for you and on your behalf.
A claim for tax credits can take place at any time of the year. But, you should apply as soon as you know you qualify. That way you get all the money that your entitlement allows.
What if you know that your income is going to drop? In this case, apply straight away. Do not delay if you know your income will go down to a level that qualifies you for tax credits.
Note: As a rule tax credits are backdated up to 30 days from the start of your claim.
A single person or a couple can apply for tax credits. Each claimant's age must be at least 16 and you must be living in the United Kingdom. Applying as a couple is called a 'joint claim'.
As a rule you must make a joint claim tax credits if you:
In some cases you may need to make a joint claim when you and your partner are not married (or in a civil partnership). These cases include situations when:
There are some exceptions. The criteria for making a joint claim is not only that you have a partner. So, you should make a single claim tax credits if:
Unless you know how to claim tax credits it is a little confusing. What happens if you are not sure? Call the Tax Credit Helpline and they will give you further advice. They will help you determine whether you should make a single or joint tax credits claim.
Note: If you make the wrong sort of application you must pay back any tax credits that you do not have entitlement to.
As a rule the backdating of tax credits is automatic. They are usually backdated up to one month after you make a claim. There is no need to do anything specific about backdating a claim for tax credits.
You will need to ask for your tax credits to be backdated if you receive:
The same applies if you did not claim any of these benefits in the last 31 days and both of the following situations apply:
Use the backdate page with your claim form. Be sure to confirm:
In some cases they will backdate your claim by more than a month. But, you must apply within one month of:
You must wait for a decision on your disability benefits or refugee status before applying to backdate these claims.
Note: You should still apply for any other tax credits that you qualify for (e.g. if you have children).
As a rule it is your income that determines what you are entitled to. In most cases it is earnings for the last tax year. Income can include:
Contact HM Revenue and Customs if you need help calculating your total income.
Some forms of income can include money paid from UK state benefits (or foreign equivalents). The exception would be when they are 'tax-free' benefits. Examples of tax-free benefits include:
You should keep certain documents to support your claim. Do not throw away records of your bills, tax credits, payslips, benefits, childcare and child's education. You should keep them all for the current tax year and for at least two years before.
You should enter the usual number of weekly hours you work on your claim form. Those who have more than one job should add all the hours together. Use the expected number of hour if you recently started work.
The list shows the type of work and how to calculate your work hours.
How to Claim Tax Credits: A Guide to Claiming Your Tax Credit in the United Kingdom