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11. Who is entitled to tax credits?

Find out if you are entitled to tax credits, and how to claim them.

Tax credits provide additional payments for people on low incomes. They are paid by the Tax Credits Office, which is part of the HMRC.
You may be eligible for Working Tax Credit:

  • if you are a lone parent or a couple with a child and you work at least 16 hours per week;
  • if you do not have a child, you are 25 or over and you work at least 30 hours per week;
  • if you are disabled and you work at least 16 hours a week; or
  • if you are 50 or over and are returning to work for at least 16 hours a week after a period on benefit.

Working Tax Credit can include help with childcare costs, and extra help if you are disabled. It is usually paid to you with your wages, but the part for childcare costs will be paid direct to you. If you are self-employed it will all be paid direct.

You may be eligible for Child Tax Credit if you have children. It is paid on top of Child Benefit and usually to the main carer. It includes extra help for disabled children. For Child Tax Credit, it does not matter whether or not you are working.

Both tax credits are means tested. Means testing will be based upon your income in the previous tax year (running April to April). If your actual income turns out to be higher or lower then you will either have to pay back the extra or be paid more at the end of the tax year. To avoid this, you can tell the Tax Credits Office about your current income whilst you are getting tax credits, so that they can revise your award during the year. You should also tell them about other changes in circumstances.

Claims for tax credits can be made online, or you can fill in a paper claim form. You can get a form and other information from the Tax Credits Helpline on 0845 300 3900. You will need to give the Tax Credits Office details of a bank account that you want the money paid into.

If you need help dealing with tax credits or any other aspect of welfare benefits, we recommend that you speak to one of our welfare benefit advisers on 08001 225 6653 for specialist advice. Telephone specialist advice is only available if you qualify for legal aid.

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