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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Specialist areas - complex: change of circumstances - non-complex to complex

Checklist

Before you follow this guidance, make sure you are in the correct MU. Use TCM0322460 for the correct MU number.

Background

Some changes of circumstance will result in a non-complex case becoming a complex case - for example

  • when an additional child joins a family that already includes 18 children
  • when a polygamous or polyandrous marriage takes place, resulting in three adult customers in the family
  • when a tax credits customer receiving Working Tax Credit (WTC) starts to receive income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA(IR))

Note: From 1 May 2012 the period for which people can receive contribution-based ESA will be limited to 12 months.

  • when a tax credits customer receiving Child Tax Credit (CTC) and ESA(IR) starts work and becomes eligible for WTC
  • when one customer in a childless couple is given a custodial sentence of more than 12 months and the remaining customer continues to satisfy the requirements for WTC.

In this example, the second adult element will be withdrawn from the first day of the custodial sentence and will not be reinstated until the customer is released from prison.

The second adult element will not be withdrawn for any periods that the customer spends on remand, even if the court subsequently decides that part (or all) of a custodial sentence of more than 12 months has been served whilst on remand.

When one customer is serving a custodial sentence, it is not treated as a family breakdown. The claim will therefore become complex and both the calculation and payment of the WTC must be manually managed until a function becomes available to pay the correct amount of tax credits by computer.

All complex cases are dealt with by the International Complex / UK Complex Team, (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) . Use TCM0322460 for the correct MU number.

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 / Data Security Team for advice.

Step 1

If you are working a change of circumstance to

  • include a 19th child in the family

Note: 6 April 2014 there will be a change to Full time non advanced education (FTNAE) where an end date of 31/08/CY will be applied on NTC. This change applies to 18 and 19 year olds. The customer will have to inform us each year whether the qualifying young person (QYP) is continuing in FTNAE. Where the customer does not inform Tax Credits, the CTC will end. This must be considered in all manual calculations.

Note: Where a QYP currently in FTNAE has an end date of either 31/08/CY or 31/08/CY+1 applied on NTC and is reaching the age of 20, the system will only pay CTC up to the day prior to their 20th birthday.

  • include a third adult as the result of a polygamous or polyandrous marriage
  • include income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA(IR)) for a tax credits customer receiving Working Tax Credit (WTC)

Note: From 1 May 2012 the period for which people can receive contribution-based ESA will be limited to 12 months.

  • include work details when a tax credits customer receiving Child Tax Credit (CTC) and ESA(IR) becomes eligible for WTC
  • withdraw the second adult element because one customer in a childless couple has been given a custodial sentence of more than 12 months
  • go to .

If you are dealing with a returned TC655, go to .

If you are dealing with an expired bf for a TC655, go to .

If you are dealing with an expired bf for a NINO or NONO allocation, go to .

If you are dealing with a returned TC664, go to .

If you are dealing with an expired bf for a TC664, go to .

Step 2

Use Function ‘VIEW AWARD’ and go to the ‘Award Summary’ screen for the latest award version

  • select a tax credit type (WTC or CTC)
  • select Payment Details this will take you to the ‘Payment Details’ screen
  • make a note of the method of payment on form TC648
  • select Cancel to return to the ‘Award Summary’ screen.

Note: Repeat the process if both WTC and CTC are in payment.

If the change of circumstance relates to an additional child in the family, go to .

If the change of circumstance relates to an additional adult in the family, go to .

If the change of circumstance relates to including income-related ESA for a tax credits customer receiving WTC, go to .

If the change of circumstances relates to including work details when a tax credits customer receiving CTC and ESA(IR) becomes eligible for WTC, go to .

If the change of circumstances relates to withdrawing the second adult element, go to .

Step 3

Use ‘Child Benefit Online’ (CBOL), for how to do this, use TCM1000230.

Confirm that

  • the Child Benefit customer’s National Insurance number (NINO) is the same NINO as one of the tax credits customers
  • the Child Benefit reference number is the same as the one on the tax credits claim
  • the name and date of birth of the child on CBOL matches the details provided by the customer.

If you can confirm these details, go to .

If you can not confirm these details, go to .

Step 4

Complete form TC655 to request the child’s birth certificate. Before issuing the form to the customer

  • copy the customer’s surname and NINO onto all parts of the form
  • ask the customer to return it with the birth certificate

Note: This will ensure that the claim can be traced and the birth certificate will be sent to the International Complex / UK Complex Team.

  • set a clerical bf date for 31 days
  • use Function ‘MAINTAIN HOUSEHOLD NOTES’ to record that you have issued the form and the date of issue

Note: You must follow the guidance in TCM0152060 when you record the note and also follow the guidance in TCM0152160.

  • take no further action.

Step 5

If you can verify the child’s date of birth, go to .

If you cannot verify the child’s date of birth, go to .

Step 6

Use Function ‘TRACE CITIZEN’ to verify the details of the additional adult, for how to do this use TCM1000465.

If the computer fails to trace the additional adult or a NINO or NONO has not been provided for the additional adult, follow the guidance in TCM0128080 to check that they have satisfied the residency and immigration rules, go to .

If the computer manages to trace the additional adult, go to .

Step 7

If the additional adult does not satisfy the residency and immigration rules, go to .

If the additional adult does satisfy the residency and immigration rules, follow the guidance in TCM0078000.

Note: When following the guidance in TCM0078000 you will be required to complete form CA8288 for Specialist Trace Unit (STU), for how to do this, use TCM1000261. You must highlight the fact that this claim is not a verification failure, but a complex case being dealt with by the International Complex / UK Complex Team.

  • set a clerical bf date for five days to await a reply from STU

Note: If NINO allocation is required bf the case for a further three weeks, where there is a known delay for NINO allocation bf for the appropriate period.

  • take no further action.

Step 8

Contact the customer to obtain any missing information about the additional adult. Follow the guidance in TCM0094080. Ask the customer to confirm all the questions on the claim form in respect of the additional adult, also ask for

  • the additional adult’s working hours
  • the additional adult’s income
  • the additional adult’s benefits for the relevant tax year

Note: If the customer does not consider the new income figures to be representative, they may ask to have the Current Year (CY) income taken into account instead. If so, you will need to obtain CY income and benefits for all the adults included in the family.

  • who the main carer is for each child in the family (this will ensure that the CTC elements and childcare elements are paid to the correct customer)
  • record all the relevant details on form TC648
  • go to .

Step 9

Check whether the earnings reported by the customer are below the initial taper start point (WTC). For information on taper points, use TCM0132420.

If the customer’s earnings are below the initial taper start point (WTC), go to .

If the customer’s earnings are above the initial taper start point (WTC)

  • use Function ‘MAINTAIN PAYMENT SUSPENSION’
  • in the ‘Suspensions Available To Be Set’ field, select Manual Payment Request from the options available
  • select Add this will set the payment suspension
  • select OK

Note: Where there are two adults on the computer, the payment suspension must be set for both customers.

Use Function ‘MAINTAIN WORKLISTS’, for how to do this, use TCM1000004 

  • set an action date of 180 days (the maximum that can be set) on the Suspended Payment work list item, making sure that the Retained checkbox is selected
  • set a manual bf date for 180 days as a reminder that you must repeat the action on the Suspended Payment work list

Note: You must repeat this action until the end of the award period.

  • go to .

Step 10

If payments are being made directly to the customer (CTC and / or WTC)

Use Function ‘VIEW HOUSEHOLD ACCOUNT’, for how to do this, use TCM1000487 

  • enter the details for the customer receiving direct payments into the ‘Key Entry Data’ screen, the ‘View Award Period Summary’ screen will be displayed
  • select Schedule, this will display the ‘View Direct Payment Schedule’ screen
  • make a note on form TC648 of the issue date for the most recent direct payment

Note: This will enable you to check from what date the payment suspension is applied, for example, if

* a direct payment was issued on the previous day, it will have been sent to the customer 
* a direct payment is due for issue on the next day, the payment suspension will prevent it being issued 
* a payment is due on the date you have applied the suspension, you should check the payment status, if it is ‘still to be paid’ the payment suspension will prevent its issue 
* you have suspended a payment due for issue that day or the next day, you must contact the customer, for how to do this, use [TCM0094080](https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/tax-credits-manual/tcm0094080). Tell them that future payments will be made manually and also tell them when they can expect to receive the next payment 
* both customers are receiving direct payments, repeat the action in Function ‘VIEW HOUSEHOLD ACCOUNT’ in respect of the second customer. 
  • go to .

Step 11

Use Function ‘VIEW CALCULATION’, for how to do this, use TCM1000102 to obtain the current details of the claim and take a screen print. Use the SEES ‘Tax Credit Entitlement Calculator’, for how to do this, use TCM1000089 and enter

  • details of the current entitlement from the effective date of claim taken from the screen print
  • details of the change of circumstances from the effective date of change

then, once the new award has been calculated

  • check if there are any future known changes of circumstance within the award period, for example, a child leaving school. Take this into account when calculating the award
  • take a print of the calculation and file with the case papers.

If the SEES calculation indicates nil impact to the customer’s award, go to .

If the SEES calculation indicates an impact on the customer’s award, go to .

Step 12

Use Function ‘AMEND APPLICATION’, for how to do this, use TCM1000005 

  • select Household from the toolbar menu
  • select Details from the options available
  • set the Complex Case marker. For how to do this, use TCM1000136 
  • select OK you will be taken to the ‘Amend Finish’ screen.

In the ‘Amend Finish’ screen, complete the following

  • date received (the date the change of circumstances was received)
  • the source (paper)
  • whether the notification of the change of circumstances is signed
  • the reason for the change of circumstances
  • select OK
  • go to .

Step 13

If the message ‘S18 Refinalisation Rules - Potential inappropriate refinalisation for CCYY-CCYY. If you have the authority to re-finalise under S19, S20 or S21 of the Tax Credit Act 2002 or due to an appeal decision.’ Press K to process the change or Cancel displays the changes you are making will re-finalise the claim, follow the guidance in TCM0042260 before making any changes

  • select OK on the message
  • go to .

If the message ‘S18 Refinalisation Rules - Actual Income for CCYY-CCYY is required. This change will not be accepted’ displays you will not be able to make the change because the PY actual income is required, follow the guidance in TCM0042260 before making any changes, then if you can make the change

  • select OK on the message
  • go to .

If the message ‘S18 Refinalisation Rules - You do not have the authority to re-finalise CCYY-CCYY. This change will not be accepted. Please refer to the appropriate team’ displays the changes you are making will re-finalise the claim

  • select Cancel, you will be taken to the ‘Amend Application Details’ screen
  • select Cancel when the message ‘All changes to the application will be lost for this session, do you wish to proceed?’ displays
  • select Yes
  • pass the case to a Level 2 user or your manager. For more information, use ‘Level 1 and Level 2 users’ on TCM0320260 
  • take no further action.

Step 14

Check whether Cross Award Recovery (CAR) was underway before the claim became complex. For how to do this, use TCM1000117 

If CAR was not underway before the claim became complex, go to .

If CAR was underway before the claim became complex, go to .

Step 15

Use Cross Award Summary screen to identify relevant years. For how to do this, use TCM1000561 

  • set Appeal Markers on relevant years to send the overpayment back to the originating year. For how to do this, use TCM1000444 
  • update household note with message ON19 from TCM0166040. For how to do this, use TCM1000001 
  • BF the claim for one day to allow the overpayment to be sent back overnight.

On expiry of this BF period

  • remove any Appeal Markers you have set. For how to do this, use TCM1000453 
  • go to .

Step 16

Use Function ‘VIEW HOUSEHOLD ACCOUNT’, for how to do this, use TCM1000486 to confirm all payments of WTC and CTC made to date. The ‘View Award Period’ summary screen will display

  • make a note on form TC648 of the amount of the direct payments of WTC and / or CTC made up to date
  • go to .

Step 17

To calculate the payment profile, follow the guidance in TCM0284320, then

  • off set any payments of WTC and / or CTC which have already been paid to the customer
  • make manual payments of WTC and / or CTC to the customer. Follow the guidance in TCM0220000 

Note: Once you have applied the change of circumstances, manual payments to the customer can only be paid four weekly.

  • go to .

Step 18

Use Function ‘MAINTAIN HOUSEHOLD NOTES’ and from the information you have noted on form TC648, enter the appropriate messages.

Note: You must follow the guidance in TCM0152060 when you record the note and follow the guidance in TCM0152160.

If there is a new child and you can verify the details, record the following 

  • ‘TCMZ Complex case - do not release payment. Transfer worklist item to MU286113’
  • the child’s full name
  • the child’s date of birth
  • any appropriate notes, for example, whether the child is disabled or if there is a connexion date
  • the new amount payable
  • the start and end dates
  • go to .

If there is a new child and you cannot verify the details,record the following

  • ‘TCMZ Child (Name) excluded as unable to verify’
  • go to .

If there is an additional adult in the family who can be included in the tax credits award, record the following

  • ‘TCMZ Complex case - do not release payment. Transfer worklist item to MU286113’
  • the adult’s full name
  • the adult’s date of birth
  • the adult’s NINO
  • work details
  • income details
  • the new award payable
  • the start and end dates
  • the name of the main carer of any children in the family
  • go to .

If there is an additional adult in the family who cannot be included in the tax credits award, record the following

  • ‘Spouse (Name) excluded as not resident (or unable to allocate NINO)’
  • go to .

If you are including income-related ESA for a tax credits customer receiving WTC, record the following

  • ‘TCMZ Complex Case - do not release payment. Transfer worklist item to MU286113’
  • the full name of the tax credits customer
  • the date income-related ESA started
  • the new award payable
  • the start and end dates
  • go to .

If you are including work details when a tax credits customer receiving CTC and income-related ESA becomes eligible for WTC, record the following

  • ‘TCMZ Complex Case - do not release payment. Transfer worklist item to MU286113’
  • the full name of the tax credits customer
  • the full name and address of the employer
  • the date employment commenced
  • the total hours worked
  • the new award payable
  • the start and end dates
  • go to .

If one of the customers has been given a custodial sentence of more than 12 months, record the following

  • ‘Complex Case, do not release payment. Transfer worklist item to MU286113’
  • ‘Custodial sentence of more then 12 months, commencing on DD/MM/YY (enter date as applicable), manual payments made’
  • the new amount payable
  • the start and end dates
  • go to .

Step 19

The action you take next depends on the reason for the change of circumstances.

If you have included an additional adult as the result of a polygamous or polyandrous marriage, go to .

If you cannot include an additional adult because a NINO cannot be allocated, go to .

If you have included ESA(IR) for a tax credits customer receiving WTC, go to .

If you have included work details for a tax credits customer receiving CTC and ESA(IR), go to .

If you have withdrawn the second adult element because of a custodial sentence of more than 12 months, go to .

Step 20

If you have included an additional child

  • complete a manual award notice selecting the relevant paragraphs to inform the customer of the total new award
  • send the notice to the customer
  • go to .

If you cannot include an additional child because their date of birth cannot be verified  

  • complete a blank LFC explaining why the child has not been included in the family
  • send the notice to customer
  • go to .

If you have included ESA(IR) for a tax credits customer receiving WTC  

  • complete a manual award notice selecting the relevant paragraphs to inform the customer of the total new award
  • send the notice to the customer
  • go to .

If you have work details for a tax credits customer receiving CTC and ESA(IR)

  • complete a manual award notice selecting the relevant paragraphs to inform the customer of the total new award
  • send the notice to the customer
  • go to .

If you have included an additional adult as the result of a polygamous or polyandrous marriage

  • complete two copies of the manual award notice selecting the relevant paragraphs to inform the customer of the total new award
  • where the additional adult has earnings, add together the hours and earnings of the second and third adults. This is because form TC602 (MAN) caters for only two customers
  • complete a blank LFC and explain that the hours and earnings of two of the adults have been added together (if appropriate)
  • send the notices and LFC to the customer
  • go to .

If you cannot included the additional adult because they do not satisfy the residency and immigration rules or it has not been possible to allocate a NINO or NONO

  • complete a manual award notice and select the relevant paragraphs to inform the customer of the award
  • complete a blank LFC and explain why the adult is excluded from the family
  • send the notice and LFC to the customer
  • continue to pay the award on system
  • send all documentation to storage. Follow the guidance in TCM0074140 
  • take no further action.

If you have withdrawn the second adult element because of a custodial sentence of more than 12 months

  • complete a manual award notice select the relevant paragraphs to inform the customer of the new total award
  • send the notice to the customer
  • go to .

Step 21

If the change has resulted in a change to the customer’s award

  • process the manual payments every four weeks
  • refer the case papers to renewals
  • take no further action.

If the change had Nil Impact on the customer’s award

  • continue to pay the award on system
  • send all documentation to storage. Follow the guidance in TCM0074140 
  • take no further action.

Step 22

If you cannot verify the child’s details and are unable to apply the change of circumstances

Use Function ‘MAINTAIN HOUSEHOLD NOTES’ to record that you have been unable to apply the change

Note: You must follow the guidance in TCM0152060 when you record the note and follow the guidance in TCM0152160.

  • send all documentation to storage. Follow the guidance in TCM0074140 
  • take no further action.

Note: The claim will remain non-complex, as there will still be only 18 children in the family.

If you cannot verify the additional adult and are unable to apply the change of circumstances

Use Function ‘MAINTAIN HOUSEHOLD NOTES’ to record that you have been unable to apply the change

Note: You must follow the guidance in TCM0152060 when you record the note and follow the guidance in TCM0152160.

  • send all documentation to storage. Follow the guidance in TCM0074140 
  • take no further action.

Note: The claim will remain non-complex, as there will still only be two adults in the family.