Guidance

Child Tax Credit: exceptions to the 2 child limit

Find out about the changes to Child Tax Credit from 6 April 2017, what the exceptions are and what to do if an exception applies to you.

Overview

From 6 April 2017, there are 2 main changes to Child Tax Credit. From this date, you’ll no longer get:

  • the family element of Child Tax Credit if there are no children on your claim who were born before 6 April 2017
  • the child element of Child Tax Credit for a third or later child born on or after 6 April 2017, unless they’re one of the exceptions in this guide

These changes only affect children born on or after 6 April 2017. If all of your children are born before this date, your Child Tax Credit will not change.

The disability element of Child Tax Credit and the childcare element of Working Tax Credit will continue to be paid for all eligible children. You’ll get these elements for an eligible child, even if you do not get the child element of Child Tax Credit for them.

Exceptions

Exceptions only apply to the third and later children on a claim, who are born on or after 6 April 2017. A child is classed as someone under 16, or between 16 and 19 and in approved education or training.

If you already get Child Tax Credit for 2 or more children, you may be able to claim the child element for children born on or after 6 April 2017 if:

  • you have a multiple birth
  • a child you’re claiming Child Tax Credit for has a child
  • you adopt a child
  • you have non-parental caring arrangements for a child of a family member or friend comes to live with you
  • your is child born as a result of non-consensual conception

Multiple birth

If a further pregnancy results in a multiple birth on or after 6 April 2017, you’ll get the child element for all but one of those children.

For example, if you already get Child Tax Credit for 2 or more children and you have twins, you’ll get the child element for one of the twins. If you have triplets, you’ll get the child element for 2 of the triplets.

Send supporting evidence to specialist exceptions team

You must send the original full birth certificate of each child born as part of the multiple birth.

Include the word ‘exception’ and your National Insurance number at the top of your letter and send it to:

Exceptions
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1HZ

If you’ve already sent birth certificates as part of a Child Benefit claim, you do not need to send them again. Just provide the full names of each child, including any middle names, and their dates of birth.

A child you’re claiming Child Tax Credit for has a child

If you get Child Tax Credit for 2 or more children and one of them has a child on or after 6 April 2017, you can claim for their child.

You can continue to claim for their child until they decide to make a claim for Child Tax Credit themselves, is between 16 and 19 and leaves approved education or training, or they leave your household.

If they leave and their child stays in your care, you’ll no longer be able to claim this exception, but you may be able to claim for their child under the non-parental caring arrangements exception.

Send supporting evidence to specialist exceptions team

You must send the original full birth certificate of the child you’re claiming this exception for.

Include the word ‘exception’ and your National Insurance number at the top of your letter and send it to:

Exceptions
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1HZ

You adopt a child

If you get Child Tax Credit for 2 or more children and you adopt a child from local authority care on or after 6 April 2017, you can claim for the adopted child.

It applies from the date parental responsibility of the adopted child passes to you. This could be either the date of formal adoption or the date of placement.

This exception does not apply if you adopt a child from abroad, or if immediately before the adoption either you or your partner was the child’s step-parent.

Send supporting evidence to specialist exceptions team

You must send your child’s original adoption certificate.

Include the word ‘exception’ and your National Insurance number at the top of your letter and send it to:

Exceptions
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1HZ

If you’re in the process of adopting a child and do not have an adoption certificate, you must provide a letter from a registered social worker that includes:

  • the name of the child
  • the date they were placed with you
  • your name and your partner’s name, if applicable

Non-parental caring arrangements

If you get Child Tax Credit for 2 or more children and a child of a family member or friend comes to live with you, you can claim for this child if there’s either:

  • a formal caring arrangement in place, for example, where you’ve been appointed by a court as legally responsible for the child

  • an informal caring arrangement in place, where the child would have otherwise been looked after by a local authority

This exception does not apply if either you or your partner is the child’s step-parent.

Formal caring arrangement

You must send the specialist exceptions team proof of any of the following:

  • child arrangement order
  • appointment as guardian
  • special guardianship order
  • entitlement to Guardian’s Allowance
  • kinship care order
  • permanence order
  • residence order

Include the word ‘exception’ and your National Insurance number at the top of your letter and send it to:

Exceptions
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1HZ

Informal caring arrangement

You must complete the informal care form.

You’ll need help from a registered social worker to complete this, as they need to confirm that the child you’re caring for would have otherwise been looked after by a local authority.

A child born as a result of non-consensual conception

You can claim for this child if you get Child Tax Credit for 2 or more children and a child born on or after 6 April 2017 is likely to have been conceived either:

  • as a result of a sexual act which you did not or could not consent to

  • at a time when you were in an abusive relationship, under ongoing control or coercion by the other biological parent of the child

You cannot claim this exception if you live with the other biological parent of the child.

You can qualify for this exception whether or not there’s been a court case or conviction of a criminal offence.

You’ll need to complete the non-consensual conception form with the help of an approved third-party professional. You do not have speak to, or give details about the circumstances of the conception to HMRC staff.

They’ll need to provide supporting information to show you’ve been in contact with them and that your circumstances meet the conditions of this exception.

Approved third-party professionals are:

  • healthcare professionals, for example, doctors, nurses, midwives or health visitors
  • registered social workers
  • specific organisations, such as specialist rape charities - find a list of these organisations

If you need to speak to us about this exception, you can call the Tax Credit Helpline and ask to speak to the ‘specialist exceptions team’ due to your circumstances.

If you’ve been affected by this and want to talk to someone, you can get support from organisations such as:

Published 6 April 2017
Last updated 23 October 2018 + show all updates
  1. Welsh translation added.
  2. First published.