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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Technical Manual

Adoption Exception

Tax Credits Act 2002, Section 9(3B)

The Child Tax Credit Regulations 2002, Reg.11.(1)(a)(b)(2)(a)(b)(c)


Note: Please make sure you have read TCTM02283 before reading any further.


A child or young person ‘A’ will receive an individual child element if they are the third or subsequent child and they have been


  • Placed for adoption with the claimant or either or both of the joint claimants
  • Adopted by the claimant, or either or both of the joint claimants, in accordance with the


  • Adoption and Children Act 2002 (for England and Wales)
  • Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007
  • Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987


A claimant is already responsible for a child or qualifying young person who would meet the adoption exception criteria, but the child or qualifying young person was born before 6 April 2017. They then have a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017, this new child (‘A’) can be treated as an exception as long as the claimant is not in receipt of the individual child element for 2 children to whom no exception applies.


Note: CTC child responsibility criteria must be satisfied before the ‘placed for adoption’ exception can be considered. TCTM02211 - Entitlement: CTC entitlement: care and adoption and TCTM02202 - Entitlement: CTC entitlement: normally lives with you


Note: From 28 November 2018 the regulations changed for the adoption and non-parental care exceptions. This change was to ensure that a family that already cares for children who are adopted or cared for under a non-parental caring arrangement can receive CTC for up to two further children to whom no exception applies.


This exception does not apply if


  • The claimant or at least one of the joint claimants  

    • Was a step-parent of ‘A’ immediately prior to the adoption
    • Has been a parent of ‘A’ (other than by adoption) at any time


  • The adoption order was made as a Convention adoption order within the meaning of


  • Section 144 of the 2002 Act
  • Section 119(1) of the 2007 Act


  • Article 2(2) of the 1987 Order



  • Prior to the adoption, ‘A’ was adopted by the claimant, or either or both of the joint claimants, under the law of any country or territory outside the British Islands