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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Overview: Claims and Notifiable Changes of Circumstances from 6 April 2012

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.

Customers must tell us if:

  • their average weekly childcare charges change so that they are

    • less than the average weekly charge by £10.00 a week or more (if fixed weekly costs for at least 4 weeks)
    • nil

(see CCM6315 for information on how to calculate whether there has been a change in average weekly childcare charges)

  • 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)
  • their usual working hours (for single claims) change so that they work less than 16 or 30 hours a week
  • their usual working hours (for joint claims) change so that they work less than 16, 24 or 30 hours a week. A couple with children must work 24 hours between them with at least one partner working 16 hours to qualify for WTC. For couples with children it is their joint working hours that count towards the 30 hours

Note: the requirement of a couple with children to work 24 hours a week could be fulfilled by one partner working 24 hours or by one partner working at least 16 hours and the other partner’s working hours taking the total between them to 24 hours or more. Be aware that certain exceptions still apply such as sick leave, maternity leave or being incapacitated for WTC purposes

  • 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

NOTE - In England and Wales a young person under 18 yrs of age is treated as being ‘looked after’ if placed on remand in local authority care. The local authority is therefore responsible for accommodating and providing the cost of the accommodation. Once the period on remand has ceased, normal responsibility conditions will apply.

  • 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 Connexions Service or equivalent
    • starts to claim Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit in their own right
    • dies

Customers must tell us within 1 month of the date:

  • on which the change of circumstance occurs
  • the customer first becomes 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 20 July, but because the number of hours they work each week varies so much that they did not realise until 04 August that there had been a change:

  • they will have 1 month from 04 August to report the change
  • their award will be adjusted to reflect their new usual hours from 20 July 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.