Tax credits deadline: Customers at risk of losing out

Suban Abdulla


Missing the July 31 deadline could mean missing out on payment. Photo: Getty
Missing the July 31 deadline could mean missing out on payment. Photo: Getty

Millions of British families who claim working tax credit, child tax credit or both have less than a week left to contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about changes to their circumstances or income.

Customers whose circumstances have changed in the last year or those who received a letter to reconfirm their income details need to contact HMRC by 31 July - or risk losing out on payment.

Tax credits are means-tested benefits that help provide extra money for people with kids, those on low incomes and disabled workers.

If you are claiming tax credits, HMRC will send you a renewal pack that tells you how to renew them, if the pack has a black line across the first page that says “check now,” you’ll need to make sure that your details are correct.

But, if the pack has a red line across the first page that says “reply now,” it means you have to renew your tax credit claims.

Missing out on the deadline could mean people receive incorrect tax credit payments and they may be asked to pay back any overpayments made.

Failure to inform HMRC about any changes within one month could result in a £300 ($384) fine. If you knowingly supply incorrect information, you could be fined up to £3,000.

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HMRC’s director-general for customer services, Angela MacDonald, said: “Tax credits provide much-needed financial support to our customers. But we know that many customers leave it to the last minute to renew their tax credits award.

“The time to renew your tax credits is now, you don’t need to wait until deadline day on 31 July.”

People can renew their tax credits online, customers can log onto gov.uk to find out the progress of their renewal and when they can expect to hear back from HMRC.

Customers can also use the HMRC app on their mobile phones, to check the progress of their renewal, the schedule of the payments and how much they have earned for the year.

People who received an annual review pack or text and have already made their declaration, including confirming their income and circumstances, do not need to do anything else, HMRC said.

However, customers who disagree with any of the information in the pack or letter or need to update any changes are advised to contact HMRC straight away.

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In May, HMRC confirmed that people whose hours were impacted because of coronavirus would still receive their usual tax credits payments.

Those working reduced hours or who have been furloughed by their employer will not have their tax credits payments affected if they are still employed or self-employed, HMRC said.

HMRC said these customers do not need to contact them about this change and it will use the information it holds about the number of hours they normally work.

But people should tell HMRC if they or their partner lose their job, are made redundant or cease trading.

Low-income workers aged 25 and over are eligible for working tax credit, but those aged 16-24 can also claim it, if they have a qualifying disability or a child.

Child tax credit can be claimed by people who are responsible for at least one child under the age of 16, or under 20 if they are in full-time education - people don’t need to be in work to claim it.

With the deadline fast approaching, customers have been warned about scams and to be aware of criminals sending out message purporting to be from HMRC.

Information about recognising genuine HMRC contact is on the gov.uk website.