How to claim tax credits

5. What counts as income

Usually, what you’re entitled to is based on your income for the last tax year (6 April 2016 to 5 April 2017).

Income includes:

  • pay - your earnings before tax and National Insurance (check your P60 or payslips if you’re employed, or your Self Assessment tax return if you’re self-employed)
  • benefits from your employer (check your P11D)
  • certain state benefits
  • money from a pension - including your State Pension
  • interest on savings
  • your partner’s income - if you make a joint claim

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has detailed guidance if you need help working out your income.


Income includes money from UK state benefits (or their foreign equivalents) unless they’re ‘tax-free’ benefits. Tax-free benefits include:

  • Child Benefit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • the foreign equivalents of UK tax-free benefits

To support your claim, keep records of your income, bills, payslips, benefits, tax credits, childcare and child’s education for the current tax year and at least 2 years before that.