The tax credits renewal deadline is 31 July 2018 – DON’T MISS IT!

If you don’t renew your tax credits before the deadline, your payments will automatically stop and you may have to repay the money you received since 6 April 2018.

You should have by now received your renewal pack, if you haven’t, contact tax credits immediately. You only need to renew your tax credits if your renewal pack states on front page ‘reply now’. You must contact tax credits even if you’re not making a claim for the incoming year as you need to ensure you have been paid the right amount for the previous year.

If your pack says ‘check now’ you only need to contact them if you need to report a change or there is a mistake on the form, otherwise your tax credits will be automatically renewed.

If you are going to renew by phone, try not to leave it to the last minute to contact them as the Tax Credit helpline can be extremely busy near the deadline. If you are renewing by post, make sure you sign the declaration form – this is one of the most common mistakes people make and can cause delays in your renewal.

To contact the Tax Credit Office make sure you have the following to hand:- renewal pack, national insurance number, details of your change in circumstances, you and your partner’s total income for the last tax year. You can give an estimated income for the year if you don’t have finalised figures but you must ensure to give actual figures by 31 January 2019.

It is crucial that if any circumstances change which may affect your tax credits, you tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as possible, otherwise you may find you owe them money.
Things that you should notify tax credits of include:-

Change of status – if you move in with a partner, get married, separate or leave the UK for longer than 8 weeks
Change in working hours
Changes re children – if you have a child, your childcare costs go up or down, a child leaves home or you start getting childcare vouchers
Income changes – you change your job or your income goes up or down
Address changes – you move house or change bank accounts
Children’s education – e.g. if your child stays in education after the age of 16

It is also important to keep a note of exactly what you have told tax credits and the date and time you notified them of the changes. If possible, take note of the name of the person you spoke to.

Once you have renewed, the Tax Credit Office will send you an award notice within 8 weeks of receiving your renewal, telling you how much you will get. Again, like with the annual review, it is important to check that these are correct and to inform Tax Credits if there is an error.

Some people may receive a letter asking for more information on their claim. If you are contacted, this will only ever be via letter, not by email or phone.

Allison Hamilton