Tax credits can make a huge difference to many families, but how do they work and do you qualify? Make sure you are up to date on the latest information about a range of benefits and credits.
Tax credits are payments that are made by the government to help anyone who is on a low income (Working Tax Credit) or anyone who is responsible for the care of at least one child or young person.
Quite often, you may be able to get both of these kinds of tax credits, depending on your individual situation – and tax credits are not taxable (you do not have to pay any kind of tax on them). If you think that you may be entitled to tax credits, the first thing that you will need to do is obtain a tax credit claim form.
You can get a tax credit claim form by ringing the HM Revenue & Customs Office Tax Credit helpline. Currently this is the only way to obtain a tax credit claim form; you cannot make a claim online or download a claim form from the internet.
The same claim form is used whether you are applying for Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or for both. It should take around a week for your tax claim form to arrive - if you haven’t received it after 2 weeks, it is advisable to ring the HM Revenue & Customs Office Tax Credit helpline to check for any progress on your form request.
While you are waiting for your tax credit claim form to arrive it is advisable that you gather all of the information that you will need in order to make an application for tax credits i.e. you will need your National Insurance number, your income for the last tax year (note: the UK tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April the next year), any payslips or other work information if you are self-employed and details of any benefits that you get i.e. Carer's Allowance or contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance.
You will also need information about any other incomings i.e. pensions, rent and any savings that you have and also details of any childcare payments that you have to make.
When you have received the tax credit claims form, use the information that you have collected (above) to fill in the details requested and post the form back as soon as you can. It is advisable to take a photocopy of the form for your own records, however, please note that HM Revenue & Customs Office will require the original copy, not a photocopy. HM Revenue & Customs Office will then process your tax credit claims form and will inform you as soon as a decision has been made. This process can take a while, so if you haven’t heard from them within
The Tax Credit Office will write to you every year (in April, May or June) asking you to check that the information that they have about you is still correct and also to confirm the income that you received in the previous year. By doing this, you will renew your tax credits. The deadline for renewing your tax credits is usually 31st July.
If you think that your tax credits award notice is incorrect (i.e. overpayment, underpayment or there has been a change in your circumstances), you must ring the Tax Credit Helpline immediately.
By doing this, you can notify them of any mistakes or missing information and they can also explain your tax credits award notice in detail to you. If they find that your tax credits award notice is incorrect, they will amend it and send you a new notice.