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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Particular aspects: work & hours - qualifying hours and determining the number of hours worked

To qualify for Working Tax Credit

  • individuals without children or who do not qualify for the disability element have to work at least 30 hours per week
  • couples without children or who do not qualify for the disability element must have one partner working at least 30 hours per week
  • individuals that qualify for the disability element must work at least 16 hours per week
  • individuals age 60 or over must work at least 16 hours per week

Note: From 6 April 2012 couples with children will only be eligible for WTC if one person works at least 16 hours per week and

  • they work a combined total of 24 hours per week

Or

  • the other person is:

    • classified as incapacitated or having a limited capability for work
    • an in-patient in hospital
    • in prison (whether serving a custodial sentence or remanded in custody awaiting trial or sentence).
    • receiving Carer’s Allowance
    • entitled to Carer’s Allowance, but not actually getting any payments as they receive other benefits instead.

Note: The Carer’s Allowance exception only applies from 6 April 2012. The customer may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance but not actually get any payments as they receive other benefits instead

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 must work, either individually or in aggregate, at least 30 hours a week to qualify for the 30 hour element (an additional amount of tax credit).

Determining the Number of Hours Worked

In the straightforward case it is a simple matter to arrive at the number of hours worked. An employee’s contract will usually state not only the minimum number of hours to be worked, but also the number of days per week, the start and finish times of each day and the amount of time to be taken for tea and lunch breaks.

There are however many situations where the calculation is more complex. Arriving at an accurate assessment of the number of hours worked by self-employed customers, for instance, can be particularly challenging. The statute refers to the number of hours the self-employed person “performs for payment or in expectation of payment”. CCM6770 contains more detailed guidance on determining the hours worked by self-employed customers.

Agency workers can also present problems, particularly if they are “IR35” cases. The statute says that an agency worker’s qualifying hours are the number of hours for which an employment agency with whom s/he has a contract of employment normally pays him / her remuneration.