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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Overview: Claims and Notifiable Changes of Circumstances before 6 April 2007

Claims for tax credits have to be made annually. The amount of the final award will take account of the customer’s circumstances over the course of the year, not just at the beginning. Customers are required to tell us in-year about some changes of circumstances that may affect the amount of the award.

Changes of circumstances relating to the child care costs must be notified during the year if there is a change in the relevant child care charges where the average weekly, relevant child care charges (see CCM6315 for details of how to calculate the average weekly childcare costs):

  • are less than the average weekly charge by £10.00 a week or more
  • are nil

Customers are also required to tell us if:

  • they become, or cease to be, a member of a couple
  • they (or their partner) leave the UK permanently, or go abroad for more than 8 weeks (12 weeks if they remain abroad because they are ill or because a member of their family is ill or has died)

Customers have three months to tell us about these changes from the date the change took place. If they don’t tell us in time we can charge a penalty, see CCM10000 for more information on penalties.

From 1 November 2006 customers must also tell us if

  • their usual working hours change so that they work less than 16 or 30 hours a week. For couples with children it is their joint working hours that count towards the 30 hours
  • they have been on strike for more than 10 days
  • one of their children leaves the family and moves to live with someone else. This includes a child who has been:

    • taken into care or fostered to another family
    • found guilty by a court and sentenced to custody or detention for a period of 4 months or more
  • a child or young person they are responsible for stops qualifying for support, for example the child or young person:

    • leaves non-advanced full-time education or approved training before they reach 20
    • starts to have their training provided under a contract of employment
    • stops being registered with a careers service , or the Connexions Service or equivalent
    • starts to claim Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit in their own right
    • dies.

From 1 November 2006 there is a change in the time limit for telling us about a notifiable change of circumstance. From 1 November customers must tell us within 3 months of the date:

  • on which the change of circumstances occurred, or
  • the customer first became aware of the change of circumstances if this is later

Any overpaid tax credits will still be calculated from the date the change happened.

For example if a customer’s usual working hours dropped to less than 30 hours on the 12 November, but because the number of hours they work each week varies so much that they did not realise until 2 December that there had been a change:

  • they will have 3 months from the 2 December to report the change
  • their award will be adjusted to reflect their new usual hours from 12 November and they will have to repay any overpaid tax credits.

If the customer does not tell us within the time limit we can charge a penalty, see CCM10000 for more information on penalties.