MARTIN Lewis has warned 800,000 parents to renew their tax credits within two weeks or risk losing out on thousands of pounds a year.
The benefit gives millions of people up to £3,400 but each year claimants may have to apply again.
You only have until 31 July – the end of this month – to renew your tax credits.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has sent out 2.5million renewal packs to tax credit claimants since April.
The Sun previously reported last month that these packs have been left untouched by thousands of Brits.
Now the consumer guru has urged 800,000 Brits who still need to respond to the letter to do so quickly in his latest MoneySavingExpert newsletter.
He warned that claimants must respond to the HMRC – or risk seeing their payments stop.
Martin added that you could also lose out on the cash if your details are wrong.
He said to check that information in your application is correct – and let HMRC know if there are any changes to your situation.
There are two types of tax credits – working tax and child tax credit.
People on low incomes, who are registered as disabled or have children that are dependent on them are eligible.
Many people have been switched from tax credits to the newer Universal Credit system, but there are also plenty of people still on the old-style system.
How much you get on tax credits can vary depending on your personal situation.
The maximum is £3,240 for working tax credit and up to £3,435 for child tax credit.
Do I need to renew my tax credits?
HMRC sends out renewal packs explaining whether or not you need to renew or update your information.
Those that need to renew will have a letter with a red line on it and the words “reply now” on it.
People that need to check their details will receive a letter from HMRC with a black line and the words “reply now” on it.
If all your details are correct, you don’t need to do anything – your tax credits will automatically be renewed.
If there’s a change in your circumstances, then you’ll need to tell HMRC about it.
What benefits are available?
IT’S not just the unemployed who can claim from the welfare state.
These are the benefits that are available from the Government, broken down into sections:
The six main means-tested benefits have now been merged with Universal Credit. These are:
- Working tax credit
- Child tax credit
- Housing benefit
- Emplyment and support allowance
- Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income support.
- Family benefits
- Child benefit
- Child tax credits
- Guardian's allowance
- Statutory maternity/paternity/adoption pay
- Marriage allowance
- Maternity grant
- Maternity allowance
- Widowed parent's allowance.
Able to work
- Working tax credit
- Contribution-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA).
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker's allowance
- Income-based employment and support allowance
- Pension credit
- Housing benefit
- Council tax reduction
- Free school meals, milk or uniforms and healthcare
- Support for mortgage interest
- Budgeting loans and advances
- Funeral payment
- Local council support schemes
- Cold weather payments.
Health and disabilities
- Attendance allowance
- Personal independence payment
- Carer's allowance
- Contribution-based employment support allowance
- Statutory sick pay
- State pension
- Bereavement allowance
- Bereavement payment
- Winter fuel payments.
The following changes could have an impact on your tax credit payments:
- Living arrangements
- Working hours
- Whether your income has gone up or down
If you haven't received a renewal pack you can contact HMRC.
How do I renew my tax credits?
Your renewal pack will have more information on how to renew, and the information you need to provide.
This will include information on how your circumstances have changed, and the income of you and your partner for the previous tax year, which ran from April 6 2020 to April 5 2021.
You can renew your tax credits three ways: online, by post or over the phone.
To do it online you need to log in to your tax credits account and follow the instruction.
You can renew over the phone by calling HMRC on 0345 300 3900.
By post, you need to sill in the forms in your renewal pack, and send it to: Tax Credit Office, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1LR.
What happens if I don’t renew my tax credits?
You have until July 31 to update your tax credits or risk losing your benefits.
If you miss the deadline your tax credits payments will stop.
HMRC will then send you a letter, which will say TC607 on it, and you'll have to pay back the tax credits you’ve received since April 6 this year.
You have to contact them within 30 days and tell them why you missed the deadline and you need to have a "good cause" for doing so.
You could be given until January 31 next year to confirm your details but this isn't guaranteed and is decided on by a case by case basis.
If you don't respond after 30 days, you'll have to pay your tax credits back up to April 6 this year and your payments will stop.
How much do you get on working tax credits?
The rates vary depending on your personal situation, but you can get up to £3,240 for working tax credit or up to £3,435 for child tax credit.
For working tax credit, you are entitled to a basic amount worth up to £2,005 a year, and you might get extras on top.
The extra elements include:
- A couple applying together: up to £2,060 a year
- A single parent: up to £2,060 a year
- Working at least 30 hours a week: up to £830 a year
- Disability: up to £3,240 a year
- Severe disability: up to £1,400 a year (usually on top of the disability payment)
- Paying for approved childcare: up to £122.50 (one child) or £210 (two or more children) a week
How much do you get on child tax credits?
For child tax credit, the amount you are entitled to depends on when your children were born.
If your kids were born before 6 April 2017, you could get the ‘child element’ of Child Tax Credit for all of them.
You’ll also get the basic amount, known as the ‘family element’.
If any of your children were born on or after 6 April 2017, you could get the child element for up to two of them.
You might get the child element for more children if exceptions apply.
You’ll only get the family element if at least one of your children was born before 6 April 2017.
Here's how much each element is worth:
- Family element: up to £545
- Child element: up to £2,845 per child
- For each disabled child: up to £3,435 (on top of the child element)
- For each severely disabled child: up to £1,390 (on top of the child element and the disabled child element).
For both Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits you can use a benefits calculator to find out how much you could get.
How do I apply for tax credits?
You can no longer apply for working tax credit.
This is because it has been replaced by the Universal Credit system, which you can apply for instead.
Lots of people have been switched from tax credits to the newer Universal Credit system.
But there are also plenty of people who are still on the old-style system, and the final deadline for being moved across has been pushed back to 2024.
You may be eligible for Universal Credit if:
- You’re on a low income or out of work
- You’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
- You’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
- You and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
- You live in the UK
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