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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Contact - customers and employers: claim form - income and childcare sections - assisting customers

Checklist

Before you follow this guidance make sure

  • you have the correct user roles to follow this guidance. Use the B&C Roles and Access Catalogue. You can find this by going to the Benefits & Credits homepage, selecting ‘R’ on the B&C A-Z index, selecting ‘Roles and Access Process’, selecting ‘Roles & Access Catalogue’ from the Related links menu
  • you’re in the correct MU. Use TCM0322460 for the correct MU number.

Background

When a customer makes their first claim for tax credits the Contact Centre adviser will identify which customers need help calculating their income for the previous year (PY) and/or calculating childcare charges. This is called Level 3 assistance.

The adviser will send a TC600 Claim Form to the customer, make an appointment for TCO to call the customer back after seven or more days and also provide them with a direct contact number to either re-arrange the appointment or request the help in advance of the appointment time.

At the end of each appointment call, TCO must also provide educational information to ensure the customer is reminded of three key pieces of information that are often missed when customers complete their claim form

  • income (actual or estimated)
  • bank account details
  • signatures.

TCO will also need to advise the customer what to do when they receive their award notice and what action is necessary at the renewal stage.

Guidance

Note: When sending customer, staff or process data to another individual or team, make sure you follow the latest data security guidelines or contact the Data Guardian or Data Security Team for advice.

Step 1

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

If you receive a ‘two working days’ call back, go to .

If you receive a general incoming call, go to .

If you’re making an outgoing call for the first time, go to .

If you’re making an outgoing call for the second or third time, go to .

If you’re checking for deliberate incorrect information on a claim form, go to .

If you’ve waited two working days for the customer to return a call, go to .

Step 2

Confirm the customer’s identity by asking them to confirm the details listed below

Note: To confirm the details below, use the Access to DWP Data (ADD) System manual.

  • name
  • NINO
  • date of birth
  • address including post code.

If the customer correctly answers all the details

  • they’ve passed the identity check
  • go to .

If the customer doesn’t correctly answer all the details

  • they haven’t passed the identity check
  • tell them we can’t deal with them at this time but they can get assistance from the Tax Credits Helpline
  • take no further action.

Step 3

Check if the customer has a set appointment as detailed on the SEES diary. For how to do this, use TCM1000178.

If the customer has a set appointment, go to .

If the customer doesn’t have a set appointment, go to .

Step 4

Check if we have recently received a claim from this customer. For how to do this, use TCM1000012.

If we have recently received a claim from this customer

  • tell them we can’t deal with them but they can get assistance from the Tax Credits Helpline
  • take no further action.

If we haven’t recently received a claim from this customer, go to .

Step 5

Ask the customer to confirm why they’re now phoning.

If they’re phoning to rearrange their set appointment

  • rearrange the appointment with the customer
  • update the SEES appointment system. For how to do this, use TCM1000178 
  • take no further action

If they’re phoning to get Level 3 assistance, go to .

Step 6

Phone the customer on the number provided on the SEES Appointment system. For how to do this, use TCM1000178.

Note: If you aren’t able to speak to the customer, don’t leave a phone number or message on an answering machine.

If you aren’t able to speak to the customer because your call isn’t answered or the customer isn’t available, go to .

If you are able to speak to the customer, go to .

Step 7

Make up to two further attempts to contact the customer at different times within one hour of the first call.

If you are able to speak to the customer on the second or third call, go to .

If you still aren’t able to contact the customer after the third call

  • cancel the set appointment
  • update the SEES appointment system. For how to do this, use TCM1000178 
  • take no further action.

Step 8

Confirm the customer’s identity by asking them to confirm the following details

Note: To confirm the details below, use the Access to DWP Data (ADD) System manual.

  • name
  • NINO
  • date of birth
  • address including post code.

If you’re able to speak to the customer but they won’t take your call because they’re worried that you may not be from HMRC

  • tell the customer

    • they’ll need to call Tax Credit Office (TCO) on the link-line number given to them by the Tax Credits Helpline
    • they’ll need to provide the details listed earlier in this step
    • you’ll give them two working days to make the call or their set appointment will be cancelled
  • rearrange the appointment for two working days from today
  • update the SEES appointment system. For how to do this, use TCM1000178 
  • take no further action.

If the customer correctly answers all the details

  • they’ve passed the identity check
  • go to .

If the customer doesn’t correctly answers all the details

  • they haven’t passed the identity check
  • tell them we can’t deal with them but they can get assistance from the Tax Credits Helpline
  • cancel the set appointment
  • update the SEES appointment system. For how to do this, use TCM1000178 
  • take no further action.

Step 9

Ask the customer if they have already sent their completed claim form back to us.

If they haven’t received their claim form, go to .

If they have received their claim form and returned it to us

  • tell the customer

    • we can’t help them but they can get assistance from the Tax Credits Helpline
    • at the end of the tax year we’ll need them to finalise this year’s award and, if they want to continue to receive tax credits, they’ll need to renew their claim for the next tax year
    • we’ll send them a renewal pack after 5 April which explains what they’ll need to do, so they should read the letter carefully
  • update the SEES appointment system. For how to do this, use TCM1000178 
  • take no further action.

If they have received their claim form and still have it, go to .

Step 10

Ask the customer if they requested the claim form within the last ten days.

If the customer did request the claim form within the last ten days

  • tell them

    • they need to allow a minimum of ten days for the claim form to reach them
    • to phone back on 0845 602 6958 - either when the form arrives or on the tenth day (whichever is sooner)
  • rearrange the appointment for seven days after the date of the original appointment
  • update the SEES appointment system. For how to do this, use TCM1000178 
  • take no further action.

If the customer requested the claim form more than ten days ago

  • tell the customer to phone the Tax Credits Helpline, who will issue them with a new claim form
  • rearrange the appointment for ten days from today
  • update the SEES appointment system. For how to do this, use TCM1000178 
  • take no further action.

Step 11

Ask the customer what assistance they would like.

If the customer states they would prefer to rearrange their appointment

  • rearrange the appointment with the customer
  • update the SEES appointment system. For how to do this, use TCM1000178 
  • take no further action.

If the customer states they don’t need any assistance any longer, go to .

If the customer states they want assistance calculating childcare costs, go to .

If the customer states they don’t want assistance calculating childcare costs but do want help calculating income and they are not a foster carer, go to .

If the customer states they don’t want assistance calculating childcare costs but do want help calculating income and they are a foster carer,

If the customer states they don’t want assistance calculating childcare costs or calculating income but want help completing other parts of the claim form 

  • provide whatever help you’re comfortable and confident to give
  • go to .

Step 12

Note: Refer to TCM0112000 for help.

Note: You shouldn’t use the SEES eligibility calculator.

Note: Where ‘short fixed period’ childcare is used, you shouldn’t offer the customer ‘better off’ advice.

Ask the customer to confirm

  • how many registered or approved childcare providers they use
  • how much they actually pay to each registered or approved childcare providers - use the list of exclusions on the TC600 notes booklet
  • how often they pay the amounts
  • how many payments they make in a year
  • whether they actually pay for the whole of the school holidays and/or term time.

Tell the customer

  • only payments made to registered or approved childcare providers qualify
  • that if they pay childcare costs for only a ‘short fixed period’

    • they may be able to claim costs at the time they are incurred
    • they will have to phone the Tax Credits Helpline a maximum of seven days prior to the care beginning
    • they will need to provide the start date, end date and total cost of the care
  • that if they pay the same amount each and every week then this is the weekly amount of childcare costs
  • that if they pay different amounts every week or month, a calculation will have to be done to arrive at a weekly amount. For how to do this, use TCM1000139 
  • that if they use more than one childcare provider, details relating to

    • the largest amount should be entered on the claim form TC600
    • the second and third highest amounts should be entered on Additional pages, form TC600A
    • other childcare costs should be listed on a separate piece of paper.

If the customer states they want assistance calculating income, go to .

If the customer states they don’t want assistance with calculating income but want help completing other parts of the claim form 

  • provide whatever help you’re comfortable and confident to give
  • go to .

If the customer states they don’t want any further assistance, go to .

Step 13

Ask the customer if they have details of all their previous year (PY) income.

If the customer has all their previous year income details to hand, go to .

If the customer doesn’t have all their previous year income details to hand but they can get them

  • rearrange the appointment with the customer
  • update the SEES appointment system. For how to do this, use TCM1000178 
  • take no further action.

Step 14

Ask the customer to open their claim form and notes booklet at the appropriate income pages.

Note: PY actual income amounts should be used but when it isn’t possible to obtain these then estimates can be used.

Note: Refer to TCM0116060 and TCM0120020 for help.

Explain what constitutes income and how to calculate it by referring to the TC600 notes booklet

  • total taxable social security benefits - use the list in the TC600 notes booklet
  • total income from earnings as an employee less allowable deductions - use the working sheet in the TC600 notes booklet
  • benefits in kind from an employer - use the working sheet in the TC600 notes booklet
  • income from self-employment which depends on whether or not the PY Tax Return has been filled in - use the TC600 notes booklet
  • total of other income less the applicable disregard - use the working sheet in the TC600 notes booklet.

Note: Remind the customer to answer the ‘estimated income’ question where appropriate.

If the customer states they want assistance completing other parts of the claim form

  • provide whatever help you are comfortable and confident to give
  • go to .

If the customer states they don’t want any further assistance, go to .

Step 15

You must tell the customer

  • to ensure that their claim can be processed quickly and to avoid delays in receiving payment, they

    • should complete all the original claim form and return it as soon as possible
    • should check their claim form carefully before they send it back to us because they’re responsible for the information on it
    • must sign the claim form - which means both them and their partner if it is a joint claim
    • mustn’t put the same child or children on both the claim form and the Additional pages, form TC600A
    • should give their correct actual income for PY if they know it. If they don’t know it, they can give an estimated income figure but this could mean they may not get all the tax credits they are entitled to or it could mean that they could build up an overpayment which they have to pay back
    • should tick only one box at the estimated income question
    • must give full bank or building society account details
    • can get more information about avoiding delays at if they have internet access
  • when they get the award notice and checklist that we send them they must

    • read it carefully and get in touch with the Tax Credits Helpline straight away if anything on the award notice is wrong
    • also get in touch with the Tax Credits Helpline straight away if their circumstances change
  • at the end of the tax year we will

    • need them to finalise this year’s award
    • expect them to renew their claim for the next tax year if they want to continue to receive tax credits
    • send them a renewal pack, after 5 April, which explains what they will need to do so they should read the letter carefully.

If the customer has stated they may deliberately enter incorrect information on the claim form, go to .

If the customer hasn’t stated they may deliberately enter incorrect information on the claim form

  • update the SEES appointment system. For how to do this, use TCM1000178 
  • take no further action.

Step 16

Tell the customer that if they

  • provide us with any incorrect information about their circumstances they may be paid too much tax credits and they will be asked to pay back any monies which they have been overpaid
  • give false information or do not tell us about any part of their income they may also be liable to financial penalties and/or they may be prosecuted.

Complete form TC648 with details of any possible incorrect information that the customer states they may provide

  • set a clerical BF date for 21 days in the future
  • update the SEES appointment system. For how to do this, use TCM1000178 
  • take no further action.

Step 17

Check what information the customer has entered on the claim form they sent in. For how to do this, use TCM1000249.

If the claim hasn’t been received or has been rejected, send the correspondence to storage. Follow the guidance in TCM0074140.

If the customer has put incorrect information on the claim form as recorded earlier on form TC648

  • email details of the case (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)  
  • use a subject heading of ‘Assisted Claims’
  • record details of your actions on the TC648 form
  • set a clerical BF date of 28 days in the future to await instructions from Compliance.

If the customer hasn’t put incorrect information on the claim form as recorded earlier on form TC648, send the correspondence to storage. Follow the guidance in TCM0074140.

Step 18

Customer hasn’t phoned back within two working days

  • cancel the set appointment
  • update the SEES appointment system. For how to do this, use TCM1000178 
  • take no further action.