HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Manual

Eligibility - entitlement: Working Tax Credit entitlement (Info)

Single people with children can qualify for Working Tax Credit (WTC) if they are working at least 16 hours weekly.

On or after 6 April 2012, couples with children are entitled to Working Tax Credit if they are both aged 16 or over and

  • they work at least 24 hours a week between them, with one person working at least 16 hours a week. If only one person works, that person must be working at least 24 hours a week,
    or
  • one person works at least 16 hours a week and the other person cannot work because they are incapacitated, in hospital, in prison or entitled to Carer’s Allowance. This means they either
    • get paid Carer’s Allowance or
    • qualify for Carer’s Allowance, but do not actually get any payments as they receive other benefits instead
      or
  • one person works at least 16 hours a week and that person qualifies for the disability element of Working Tax Credit,
    or
  • one person works at least 16 hours a week and that person is aged 60 or over.

People without children who qualify for the disability element of Working Tax Credit must work at least 16 hours weekly.

People without children or a disability can qualify if they are aged 25 to 59 and work at least 30 hours weekly.

People without children or a disability can qualify if they are aged 60 or over and work at least 16 hours weekly from 6 April 2011.

WTC is made up of various elements

  • Basic element
  • Disability element
  • 30 hour element
    Note: Customers who do not meet the eligibility condition for the WTC 30 hour element prior to becoming either a coronavirus-impacted worker or furloughed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, cannot combine these hours with new additional job hours in order to satisfy the 30 hour element.  
    Where they continue to work in their original job but with reduced hours, they can add these reduced hours to the hours worked in the additional job in order to satisfy the 30 hour element. 
  • Second adult element
  • Lone parent element
  • Severe disability element
  • 50 plus element
  • 50 plus, 30 hour element
    Note: The 50 plus element was withdrawn on 6 April 2012.
  • WTC child care element (worth 70 per cent of allowable child care costs (up to a limit)).

General conditions of entitlement

A person is entitled to WTC if they

  • are working on the day of claim
    or
  • have an offer of work which has been accepted at the date of the claim and the work is expected to start within seven days of making the claim
    and 
  • the work is expected to continue for at least four weeks after the date of claim
    and
  • the work is done for payment or expectation of payment
    and
  • for a single person claim with children
    • have reached the age of 16
    • are working for 16 hours or more weekly
  • for a joint claim with children
    • both partners have reached the age of 16
    • are working for 24 hours or more weekly with one partner working at least 16 hours. If only one person works, that person must be working at least 24 hours a week,
      or
    • one person works at least 16 hours a week and the other person cannot work because they are incapacitated, in hospital, in prison or entitled to Carer’s Allowance,
      or
    • one person works at least 16 hours a week and that person qualifies for the disability element of Working Tax Credit,
      or
    • one person works at least 16 hours a week and that person is aged 60 or over
  • for people without children who qualify for the disability element of Working Tax Credit
    • have reached the age of 16
    • are working for 16 hours or more weekly
  • for people aged 25 to 59 years of age without children or a disability
    • are working for at least 30 hours weekly (in a joint claim the other person must be at least 16)
  • for people aged 60 years or over without children or a disability
    • are working for at least 16 hours weekly (in a joint claim the other person must be at least 16).

When an award is set it can run until the end of a tax year when entitlement is reviewed. However, if there is a change affecting the maximum amount of tax credits available the tax credits award can be adjusted from the point of change.