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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Manual

Eligibility - miscellaneous: Family membership - eligibility (Info)

The only people to be treated as members of the family are

  • a couple
  • a single person
  • any child or young person the customers are responsible for.

The support for a child or young person depends on their date of birth. The date of birth of any child or young person shown on the claim form should be accepted unless there is evidence that the information is wrong.

  • a child who has not reached 1 September following their 16th birthday at the date of claim and has left school, should still be treated as a member of the customer’s family until 1 September. However, if the child’s 16th birthday falls between the date of claim and the date of award, the child will be included as a child of the family from the date of the award until 1 September.

Note: From 6 April 2017, customers will only get the Family Element of Child Tax Credit where they are responsible for a child or children born before that date.

Note: The individual child element of Child Tax Credit will no longer be awarded for third and subsequent children or qualifying young persons in a household, born on or after 6 April 2017, unless it meets the exception criteria.

Note: If you are dealing with a claim where an exception marker has been applied to any of the children/young persons included in the claim or the customer is reporting a change relating to an exception contact the Exception Team (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) For how to check if the exception marker has been applied, use TCM1000314.

Initial claims

If the young person’s 20th birthday falls on or before the date of award, the person will no longer be a young person. When the young person reaches 20, then any element payable in respect of that young person will cease on their 20th birthday. If they are the only child or young person in the family, then the ‘family element’ will also end on that date. There will be no credit or allowance for them in the calculation of entitlement.

Note: A young person will not be included on the calculation of entitlement for a customer if the young person

  • has their 19th birthday before 06/04/06
  • starts full-time non-advanced education (FTNAE) after their 19th birthday
  • starts an approved training scheme after their 19th birthday
  • is 19 and changes the course they are registered on during the tax year.

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Renewal claims

On a renewal claim if a young person is aged 20 or over at the date of claim, a credit or allowance will not be given. This is because it is the age of the child at the date the award starts that is relevant when deciding what credit to award.

A claim received from a couple who are not members of the same family at the date of claim cannot be treated as a joint claim.

A couple who normally live together are treated as members of the same family even if they are temporarily living apart, provided that they are

  • not separated under a court order
  • separated in circumstances that are likely to be permanent.

There is no specified period of time after which an absence ceases to be temporary. The customer must decide whether they can be treated as members of the same family. The following list could help the customer to decide

  • the circumstances of the absence - for example, because of employment needs or accommodation difficulties
  • the extent to which contact has been maintained
  • the extent to which one partner has supported the other, or the couple have supported the children or young persons
  • how long the absence has lasted
  • how much longer the absence is likely to last
  • the intentions and prospects of the couple living together again.

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Customer in prison

Any person who is in prison either on remand awaiting trial, or serving a custodial sentence at the date of claim should be included as a member of the family.

The second adult element will not be paid to any person who is serving a sentence of more than 12 months and, in the case of a joint claim, where neither customer has responsibility for a child or young person. Such cases will be dealt with as complex cases.

A child or young person cannot be treated as part of the family if they have been given a custodial sentence of more than four months.

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Residential accommodation

Residential accommodation for a child or young person is permanent accommodation provided under specified legislation.

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Regular contact

Regular contact should be given its normal everyday meaning. Regular contact

  • does not only mean visiting, it includes letters and telephone calls
  • should happen at recurring intervals that are evenly spaced or frequent, but not casual.

Visits made weekly or monthly should be regarded as regular contact.