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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Technical Manual

Decision Making: The Human Rights Act and Glossary of Terms: Glossary of Terms - A to Z

Act - this is a law that has been passed by Parliament and given royal assent.

Appropriate Office - Information on the meaning of appropriate office can be found at TCTM06100

Note: the definition of appropriate office differs in the case of an s21 official error decision from all other aspects of tax credits legislation, see TCTM12000 Tax Credits Official Error Regulations 2003

Affirmative procedure - refers to statutory instruments which must be approved by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords to become law.

Auto Renewal - This is another description for a reply not required case, see below

Conclusive Decision- this is defined at s20(6) in the Tax Credits Act as

a decision under section 18(1),(5),(6) or (9), 19(3), 20 (1) or (4)


a decision under section 21 TCA relating to a decision within paragraph (a), (meaning those above)


a decision made under appeal.

First Specified Date (1SD) - The first specified date is the date by which a claimant must make their initial response to the s17 end of year notice. This is always a minimum of 30 days from the date of issue, but is usually longer. If the s17 notice is issued late 1SD will be 30 days from the date of issue. This date will always be specified on the s17 notice.

For 2003/04 and 2004/05 1SD was in most cases 30 September. From 2005/06 1SD was in most cases 31 August. From 2007 the 1SD in most cases is 31 July.

Maximum rate payable - a change that adds or increases one or more of the elements that make up an award of tax credits i.e. the addition of a child or the addition of the 30 hour premium.

Negative procedure - refers to statutory instruments which automatically become law unless there is an objection from either House.

Neglect/Negligence - the term ‘negligence’ here has a specific meaning, which is based on the way courts of law have previously interpreted it - not necessarily the way you would use it in an everyday sense.

So for someone to have been negligent, they must have failed or omitted to do something which a prudent (that is to say a sensible and careful person who is discreet or cautious or exercising good judgment) and reasonable person would do.

For example - you would expect a reasonable person to:

  • make a complete and correct claim
  • read the notes supplied with the claim that relate to their own circumstances
  • seek help if they are unable to cope with the claim or declaration themselves.

So if someone made a mistake and left some information off their claim form, which the guidance notes told them to include, they would be considered negligent - even if they said they didn’t realise they had to give us the information.

Primary legislation - Acts of Parliament are often referred to as primary legislation. The House of Commons and the House of Lords both debate proposals for new laws called Bills. If both Houses vote for the proposals then the Bill is ready to become an Act. It can only be described as an Act when it has received Royal Assent from the monarch.

Regulations - Secondary legislation that adds details to primary legislation (Acts of Parliament)

Reply not required - These are cases are where the claimant has received the family element only, for the entire year. The s17 notice asks the claimant to check their circumstances and calculate their income for the year. It then explains that if their circumstances haven’t changed, and their income is within specified income brackets then they need take no further action.

Reply required - These are cases where the claimant is sent an s17 notice asking them to check their circumstances and calculate their income for the year, this notice states that they must reply by the first specified date.

Second Specified Date - The second specified date is 31 January (unless the s17 notice is issued within 30 days of 31 January in which case it will be 30 days from the date of issue) A final decision will be made under S18(6) in any case where the claimant(s) reported an estimated figure by the first specified date and then provides the actual figure. If the claimant(s) does not report their final income figure by the second specified date, a final decision under S18(6) will be made after this date using the estimated figure the claimant provided by 1SD.

Secondary legislation - Secondary legislation allows the Government to make changes to a law without needing to push through a completely new Act of Parliament. The original primary legislation would have made provisions for future delegated legislation that could alter the law to differing degrees, without changing the basic principles.

Statutory Instruments (SIs) - often called orders or regulations, require Parliament’s approval - usually through negative resolution, rather than a full debate and royal assent.

The laying of the Statutory Instruments before the House - the papers are received in the Journal Office and reported to the Commons in the daily Vote and Proceedings (and to the Lords in their daily Minutes), after which they are said to have been ‘Laid on the Table of the House’, though they are not actually placed on the Table.