Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what this means

HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

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 6.

Step 1

Check whether the customer(s) is/are living in a closed postcode area and whether they are Pension Credit Qualifying Age (PCQA). For how to do this, use TCM1000628

If the customer(s) is/are living in a closed postcode area and they are not PCQA, go to Step 2.

If the customer(s) is/are living in a closed postcode area and they are PCQA, go to Step 3.

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

If the customer(s) is not/are not living in a closed postcode area, go to Step 3.

Step 2

  • 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 3

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 4.

Step 4

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

If the customer does not want to proceed with the claim

  • take no further action.

Step 5

If the customer(s) is/are living in a closed postcode area and they are PCQA

  • 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(s) is not/are not living in a closed postcode area

Step 6

Where the customer is not of PCQA and lives in a postcode area which is due to close within 21 days, you will need to tell them that they need to make a claim before their postcode area closes.

If the customer(s) is not/are not PCQA and the postcode area is due to close within 21 days

  • 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
  • refer the customer(s) to the tax credit helpline
  • take no further action

If the customer(s) is/are PCQA and the postcode area is due to close within 21 days

  • 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 postcode area is not due to close within 21 days

  • 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.