Your tax credits could go up, down or stop if there are changes in your family or work life. You must report any changes to your circumstances to the Tax Credit Office.

You can do this either:

Make sure you have as much information as possible about the change, for example if you’ve changed jobs you need start and end dates, names of employers and PAYE reference numbers. You need the old details as well as the new details.

Changes you must report

Tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as a change happens. You must do this if your:

  • living circumstances change, for example you start or stop a relationship, move in with a new partner, get married or form a civil partnership, permanently separate or divorce
  • child or partner dies
  • child leaves home, moves out or goes into care for example
  • child over 16 leaves approved education or training, or a careers service
  • childcare costs stop, go down by £10 or more a week, or you start getting help with them
  • childcare provider is no longer registered or approved
  • income goes up by £2,500 or more
  • working hours fall below 30 hours a week (combined if you’re in a couple with children)
  • working hours fall below or go above the minimum required to qualify

You must also tell the Tax Credit Office straight away if you:

Deadline for reporting

The deadline for reporting these changes is 30 days, but you’ll reduce the amount you’re overpaid if you report them as soon as they happen.

If you receive tax credits you’re not entitled to, you’ll need to repay the money. You may also have to pay a penalty.

You could be fined up to £300 if you don’t report a change within 30 days and up to £3,000 if you give wrong information carelessly or on purpose.

Other changes

Your tax credits are less likely to be affected if you tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as you:

  • have a baby or take responsibility for another child
  • change bank details - you can report this up to 30 days before it happens
  • change address - wait until you’ve moved before telling the Tax Credit Office
  • change childcare provider
  • start paying for registered or approved childcare
  • stop getting help with childcare costs
  • start or stop claiming benefits, or your benefits change
  • or a member of your family becomes or stops being disabled

You should also tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as possible if your:

  • child is certified blind (or no longer certified)
  • income changes - tell the Tax Credit Office immediately if it goes up by £2,500 or more
  • working hours increase to 30 hours or more a week (combined if you’re in a couple with children)

There’s no deadline to report these changes.

You’ll have to make a new claim for tax credits if you start or end a relationship or your partner dies.

Why your tax credits change

Your payments can go up because:

  • your income goes down by more than £2,500
  • your benefits stop or go down
  • you have a child
  • your childcare costs go up

Your payments can go down or stop because: