How to renew your Tax Credits
The deadline for renewing your Tax Credits is fast approaching so this is my step-by step guide to make sure you carry on receiving this benefit.
Thousands of pounds goes unclaimed every year because people either forget to claim their Tax Credits or they don’t get around to renewing them.
For those people already receiving Tax Credits, every year you need to renew the amount you’re getting and the deadline is 31st July.
The whole system is rather complicated; for an estimate of what you might get use this calculator on the GOV.UK website. However, despite the paperwork hassle, by not renewing the credits you're at risk of losing this benefit altogether so make sure you return it on time.
What are Tax Credits?
Tax Credits are payments from the Government to help with the costs of bringing up children and for those people who don’t earn very much money. Child Tax Credit is available for people who are responsible for at least one child, whereas Working Tax Credit is for people on low incomes and you may be eligible for one or both of these.
Why do I need to renew my tax credits?
Each year you need to do this so you’re getting the right amount of money and it’s also a way to make sure all your details are correct.
If you’re already receiving Tax Credits and you were sent an Annual Declaration form and an Annual Review notice then you will need to renew your credits.
Those people who only received the Annual Review notice don’t have to do anything as the claim will be renewed automatically. For these people, Tax Credits will continue as normal but you still need to make sure you tell the Tax Office if your personal circumstances change at all.
For everyone else who received the Annual Declaration form, you need to fill this in and return it by the 31st July deadline. Once it’s been sent off the tax office will then send you its decision within eight weeks and let you know what your new payments will be.
How do I renew?
You can either send your Annual Declaration form back to the Tax Credit Office (it needs to arrive by 31st July) or call the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900. The service isn't available online and the phone line is open from 8am until 8pm from Monday to Friday and 8am to 4pm on Saturday. Try and do this early otherwise you’ll probably have to wait on hold before speaking to someone.
What information do I need?
Before calling up the Tax Credit Helpline to renew your credits there are a few documents you need to hand. These include details about:
- Your income for the last tax year if you were employed (you can find this on a P60 or your final payslip)
- Income if you were self employed
- Any benefits you’re already receiving
- Other sources of income, such as interest from savings accounts, pensions or rent
- Childcare payments you are currently making
- National insurance number
Where do you send the form?
When you’ve completed everything, send the form off to:
HM Revenue & Customs Tax Credits
If you’re receiving any other benefits, such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, you can hand in the form to your local Jobcentre Plus or social security office in Northern Ireland. After you’ve sent it off keep all the relevant documents in a safe place. If you need help filling it out then call the Tax Credit Line.
What if I don’t renew?
Payments will stop straight away if you’ve been sent an Annual Declaration form and haven’t returned it on time. The Tax Office will send you a statement, and you’ll then have 30 days to let it know if and how your circumstances have changed.
If you fail to do this you’ll have to make a new claim to start getting the benefit again.
This article has been updated for the 2013/14 tax year