27 July 2011

HMRC are no longer providing proof of child benefit entitlement

HMRC have issued a letter to Local Authorities this week advising that they will no longer provide claimants with written evidence of their child benefit entitlement.

According to HMRC, they receive around 6000 calls each week from claimants asking for written confirmation of their child benefit entitlement. HMRC research shows that the main reason for this is the need for claimants to provide evidence to support claims for benefits or grants administered by local Government.

As a result of these findings, HMRC have written to local authorities stating that they consider this a significant burden on their resources which threatens their ability to provide the right level of support to claimants who need their help.

In addition, HMRC state that DWP have advised them that evidence of child benefit should only be sought from the claimant where there is doubt. DWP encourage sight of bank statements or tax credit award notices where evidence is needed.

In addition to letters to Local Authorities, from 5thAugust 2011, anyone contacting the child benefit helpline will hear a recorded message advising them of this change in procedure. The message states:

Please note, if you’ve been asked to provide proof you’re entitled to Child Benefit, for example to claim Housing Benefit, we no longer provide this and we will not send confirmation to you by post. You don’t actually need to provide proof as you can provide other information instead, such as a tax credit award notice or recent bank statement showing Child Benefit going into your account. <pause> Now, if you’re calling to get your Child Benefit number, you’ll find this on any letters we’ve sent you.  If you can’t find any paperwork and still need your Child Benefit number for any other reason, you can also send your query to us online.  Just go to www.hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefit and select the link under ‘Do it Online’. <pause> To hear that information again, press the star key or if you’ve no further questions you can just hang up.

For further informtion of how to obtain information that HMRC hold about your client's child benefit claim, see our section on how to deal with HMRC