Child Tax Credit
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As a rough guide, if your annual household income is £26,100 or less and you have at least one child you can probably claim Child Tax Credit. The amount you get depends on your circumstances.
What is Child Tax Credit?
Did you know?
You don’t need to be working to claim Child Tax Credit.
Child Tax Credit is paid to people who are responsible for at least one child who is either:
- Under 16, or
- Under 20 and studying full-time in sixth form or further education college
To give you a rough idea, if your annual household income is not above one of these ‘limits’, you can probably get Child Tax Credit.
Child Tax Credit limits
|Number of children||Annual household income limit for 2015/16|
How much Child Tax Credit can you get?
You could get a basic amount of up to £545 a year, known as the ‘family element’. However you can get more on top of this. The amount you get depends on things like:
- Your income
- How many children you have living with you
- Whether your child has a disability
So on top of the ‘family element’ you could get up to £2,780 for each child. If your child is disabled you could get a further £3,140. And if your child is severely disabled there is an additional £1,275 per child available. These amounts are for the 2015/16 tax year.
How to claim Child Tax Credit
Call the Tax Credits Helpline to get a form on 0345 300 3900 or follow the link below:
Keeping your tax credits up to date
You need to renew your tax credits claim every year by 31 July. The Tax Credit Office will write to you telling you what you need to do. This is the way they check your payments are right.
If your circumstances change at any time during the year – either at home or at work – this can affect the amount of money you should be getting.
Other tax credits you might qualify for
If you have children and you work, you might be eligible for Working Tax Credit to help with the cost of childcare.
And if you work and you’re on a low income you might qualify for Working Tax Credit to top up your earnings.
When you check your eligibility for Child Tax Credit you will also be told whether you qualify for Working Tax Credit. There’s no need to claim them separately as they’re on the same claim form. It is important to inform the Tax Credit Office about any changes as soon as possible. If you don’t you might be able to miss out on money you are entitled to, or you may be overpaid.
Changes to Child Tax Credits
There will be changes to claiming Child Tax Credits starting in April 2017.
From this date, if you are making a new claim, support will be limited to the first two children (unless you have a multiple birth) and you will no longer be able to claim the family element.
Disabled children are protected and you will still be able to claim the disabled child premium for any of your children who are eligible to get it.
If you are already claiming Child Tax Credits and you have more than two children, you won’t be affected by the changes.
Child Tax Credit is being replaced by Universal Credit
Child Tax Credit is one of the six benefits that is being phased out and replaced by Universal Credit.
This new benefit is being introduced in stages. At the moment, it can only be claimed by people who are newly unemployed in certain areas around the country.
Universal Credit will be paid as a single monthly payment that will include a standard allowance plus other payments known as elements - for example for children, childcare, housing and caring responsibilities. The total amount you get will depend on your circumstances.
If you’re already claiming Child Tax Credit you probably won’t be affected until later on. At the moment, you would only need to claim Universal Credit instead of tax credits if:
- You start living with a partner who already receives Universal Credit, or
- You live in one of the areas where Universal Credit is being introduced and you lose your job.
If you’re affected by Universal Credit, the Tax Credit Office will tell you what you need to do to close your tax credits claim.
You can continue to make new claims for Child Tax Credit. You can’t claim tax credits and Universal Credit at the same time.
From April 2017, if you are making a new claim for Universal Credit, support will be limited to the first two children (unless you have a multiple birth) and the first child premium will no longer be available. If you are already claiming UC, you won’t be affected by the changes.