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Tax credits

your healthcare

Tax credits are payments from the Government and are designed to help people on a low income. They are not taxable. The fact that you are living with HIV has no bearing on your eligibility for tax credits.

Who can get tax credits?

If you work, but are on a low income, you may qualify for Working Tax Credit (WTC). If you're responsible for at least one child or young person, you may qualify for Child Tax Credits (CTC). You can often get both types of tax credits.

What do I need to know about tax credits?

You will usually need to make a joint claim for tax credits if you’re married, in a civil partnership or living together as if you’re married or in a civil partnership.

You can usually only make a single claim if you don't fall into one of these groups.

Tax credits are paid directly into your bank, building society, Post Office or National Savings account if it accepts Direct Payments. Payments are either weekly or every four weeks.

If you're both working and you both qualify for WTC, you can decide which one of you will get the payments. Couples claiming CTC need to decide who the children's main carer is. If you’re the main carer then the money will be paid to you.

Your payments will usually run from the date of your claim to the end of the tax year. Claims can usually be backdated for up to one month and sometimes longer, from the date the Tax Credit Office receive your claim form.

It’s important to renew your claim each year, usually in July, to avoid your claim being closed. It’s also important to inform the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of any changes in circumstances to reduce the risk of overpayments or underpayments.

How do I claim tax credits?

To claim tax credits you have to fill in a claim form. You must contact the Tax Credit Helpline to get a tax credits claim pack. Applying through the helpline is the first step of the process.

There are two types of tax credit - Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. But you only need to complete one claim form, even if you want to claim both.

When you contact the Tax credits helpline you’ll need:

  • Your National Insurance Number if you have one. You can find your National Insurance number on your P60 certificate or P45 from your current or last employer, your PAYE Coding Notice or a letter from the Tax Credit Office, your payslip, any correspondence from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or Jobcentre Plus.
  • Your income for the last tax year - 6 April to 5 April - if you were employed - you can get this from your P60 or your final payslip for the tax year.
  • Details of your income for the last tax year if you were self-employed.
  • Details of any benefits you get such as contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Carer's Allowance.
  • Details of other income you get, such as savings interest, pensions or rent.
  • Details of any childcare payments you make if you use a registered or approved provider.

How will they decide my eligibility for tax credits?

As a general guide, you could be eligible for tax credits if you:

  • Have one child and your income is not above £26,000.
  • Have two children and income is not above £32,200.
  • Are single without children and income is not above £13,000.
  • If you are in a couple without children and income is not above £18,000.

Other factors, such as disabilities, are also taken into account before a decision is made.

How much can I get in tax credits?

The amount of tax credits you get depends on things such as:

  • How many children you have living with you.
  • If you live with someone as a couple.
  • Whether you work - and how many hours you work.
  • If you pay for childcare.
  • If you or any child living with you has a disability.

Your payments also depend on your income. The lower your income, the more tax credits you can get.

What if I am not happy with the decision?

If you disagree with the decision, you should contact the Tax Credits Helpline, explain why you think it’s wrong and ask for an explanation.

If the Tax Credits Helpline operator agrees that the decision is wrong, they will arrange for the decision to be changed and a new decision notice issued.

If the operator cannot change the decision, they should explain why. If you’re still not satisfied, you can usually appeal against the decision. Appeals should normally be made within 30 days of the decision.

When can I appeal?

If you have the right of appeal, it will say so in the notice of the decision. Decisions which can be appealed against are:

  • The initial decision as to whether or not a claimant is entitled to an award of CTC and/or WTC.
  • Where a decision has been revised, following notification of a change of circumstances.
  • Where a decision has been made to revise a claimant’s award of CTC and/or WTC.
  • Where a decision has been revised a decision following an enquiry, or in consequence of income tax liability being revised.
  • Where a decision has been made that is subject to an official error.
  • Where a decision has been made to revise a claimant’s award of CTC and/or WTC, following a final notice.
  • Where HM Revenue and Customs has imposed a penalty on the claimant.
  • Where HM Revenue and Customs has charged interest on any overpayment of CTC and/or WTC the claimant has received.

More help with benefits:

If you're struggling with your finances or would like some help with understanding benefits, call our free helpline THT Direct or book a session with an Online Adviser.

This content is currently being reviewed and will be updated shortly.



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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 3/9/2014 by C. Berry

Date due for the next review: 3/9/2017