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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Manual

Claims - requests: Eligibility query (AG)

Background

Before a customer completes a claim form (TC600) they may want to know

  • if they are eligible to apply for tax credits
    and, if so
  • what their entitlement will be.

If you receive such a request you will need to check what postcode area the customer(s) lives in and then, if appropriate, you should complete a SEES entitlement check. This will calculate a potential rate of entitlement. You must tell the customer that a potential rate of entitlement would only provide an initial award until a formal claim is made.

Guidance

To deal with a query from a customer asking if they are eligible to apply for tax credits and, if so, what their entitlement will be, consider steps 1 to 7.

Step 1

Check whether the customer(s) is/are living in a closed postcode area or one which is due to close within 21 days. For how to do this, use TCM1000628

If you are dealing with a postcode area which has already closed, go to Step 2

If you are dealing with a postcode area that is due to close within 21 days, go to Step 4

If the postcode area is open, go to Step 6

Step 2

If the household contains a customer who is of Pension Credit Qualifying age (PCQA), go to Step 6

If the household does not contain a customer who is of Pension Credit Qualifying age (PCQA), go to Step 3

Note: in the case of a joint claim only one of the claimants needs to be PCQA

Step 3

If the customer is claiming for more than two children, go to Step 6

If the customer is not claiming for more than two children

  • the customer(s) is/are not entitled to claim tax credit
  • inform the customer(s) that Universal Credit is a benefit that is replacing a range of benefits including Tax Credits
  • inform the customer that as they are of working age they should claim Universal Credit instead. Direct them to claim online at gov.uk and search for Universal Credit
  • take no further action

Step 4

If the household contains a customer who is of PCQA

If the household does not contain a customer who is of PCQA

Step 5

If the customer is claiming for more than two children

If the customer is not claiming for more than two children

  • explain to the customer(s) that tax credits, along with a number of benefits, is being replaced by Universal Credit and will shortly become unavailable to them in their postcode area so they will need to make a claim before their postcode area closes
  • go to Step 6

Step 6

Ask the customer for the following information to enable you to use the SEES eligibility calculator

  • how many children there are in the family
  • the ages of each child in the family
  • if there is a partner
  • details of any other income in the family
  • income from employment in the family
  • if there is a disabled person in the family
  • if any benefits are paid to anyone in the family
  • details of childcare costs
  • number of weekly hours worked
  • identity of disabled person (adult or child)
  • age of customer (if not disabled or no children)
  • go to Step 7

Step 7

Use the SEES eligibility calculator to enter the above details.

  • provide the customer with details of their entitlement but tell them that this is only a potential award
  • ask the customer whether they would like to proceed with the claim

If the customer wants to proceed with the claim

Use the SEES eligibility calculator to enter the above details.

  • provide the customer with details of their entitlement but tell them that this is only a potential award
  • ask the customer whether they would like to proceed with the claim

If the customer wants to proceed with the claim

  • refer the customer(s) to the tax credit helpline
    or
  • ask the customer(s) for their name, address and postcode and issue the claim pack. Follow the guidance in TCM0072040

If the customer does not want to proceed with the claim

  • take no further action.