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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Technical Manual

Decision Making: Valid Claims, Conclusive Entitlement and Changes to Decisions: Decision to accept a new claim as valid

Tax Credits (Claims and Notifications) Regulations 2002, Reg 5

For an award of tax credits to be made we must first accept the claim as valid. A claim form that contains insufficient information may not be a valid claim. For example the claim may not include the claimant’s National Insurance Number (however there are some exceptions to this).

Regulation 5 of the Tax Credits (Claims & Notifications) Regulations 2002 prescribes that:

5(1) This regulation prescribes the manner in which a claim for a tax credit is to be made.

(2) A claim must be made to a relevant authority at an appropriate office -

(a) in writing on a form approved or authorised by the Board for the purpose of the claim; or

(b) in such other manner as the Board may decide having regard to all the circumstances.

(3) A claim must contain the information requested on the form (or such of that information as the Board may accept as sufficient in the circumstances of the particular case).

The current HMRC policy definition of a valid tax credit claim is:

A claim form that is completed in accordance with the instructions on the claim form notes and includes all the information requested.

Regulation 5(2)(b) means that the Board can decide to accept claims in any other manner. This is the power that allows telephone claims to be made where HMRC decide that is appropriate (see TCTM06100)

Regulation 5(3) means that whatever form the claim takes, it must contain sufficient information as prescribed by the Board. It is entirely possible to say a claim is not valid when some or most of the questions are unanswered. It is up to the Commissioners of HMRC to decide what is enough information for a claim to be valid, however in practice this is set by HMRC Policy.

There are other requirements for a claim to be valid. These surround the supply of a NINO by all adult members of a claim. There are a number of exceptions to this rule and these are detailed within TCTM06102

Once an award has been made, it cannot be later decided that the claim was not a valid claim, this is supported by Commissioners Decision - R(SB) 9/84(T).

A claimant can amend or add information to a claim before a s14 initial decision is made on it. This can include a withdrawal (see TCTM06107)

From April 2010 the annual declaration form will include a box that the claimant can tick if they do not wish to make a renewal claim.

Appeal Rights

Refusing to accept a claim as valid is not the same as deciding there should be no award of tax credits. There is no right of appeal against a decision that a claim is not a valid claim, the only course of challenge would be a Judicial Review. There is however a right of appeal against:

  • a decision that the eligibility criteria have not been met (for example no children and not working the required number of hours)
  • a decision to award at a nil rate (for example someone who is working the required hours and is responsible for children, but who earns in excess of the maximum income threshold)