Tax Credits: How to notify changes
Changes can be reported to HMRC in three ways:
HMRC’s digital service allows claimants to check claim information and their tax credit payments, renew (up to 31 July) and also report most changes of circumstance on-line, including adding a child, change of name, change of address, change of job, change to income, changes to childcare arrangements and costs, any disability changes, hospital admissions and people going abroad. To date, the tax credits digital service does not cover changes to bank account details.
Currently it is not possible to make a new claim on-line claims, although HMRC are developing an on-line claims service.
The service allows a single claimants to notify HMRC that they have a new partner but importantly this does not add the new partner to the claim. It will simply end the single claim and the claimant is responsible for submitting a fresh joint claim if they wish to continue receiving tax credits and are eligible. To do this a new claim form will need to be requested via the tax credits helpline or using the online form. This means there could be a delay between ending the single claim and submitting the fresh joint claim, although in most cases the backdating rules for new claims should cover any gaps up to 31 days between one claim ending and submitting the fresh claim.
For claimants reporting a change of household from joint to single, this can also be done online. However, you will then need to phone the helpline to get a new claim form or request a new claim form online. It may be beneficial to report a change from joint household to single via the telephone (0345 300 3900) because HMRC run a fast-track service by telephone to reduce the impact of breaks in payment from the old award to the new award which allows them to end the joint claim and pass the claimant over to a team who can capture the new single claim over the phone without the need to complete a claim form.
Claimants reporting a change in their household either from joint to single and vice versa should also take note that rollout of Universal Credit full service may prevent a fresh tax credits claim in their postcode area and they may need to claim Universal Credit in place of a new tax credit claim.
For security, claimants need to set-up a Government Gateway account, or use their existing Government Gateway account if they have one for example if they already submit self-assessment on-line. Claimants also need to have a mobile phone or landline telephone (or have access to one) so that they can receive a unique 6 digit access code which is sent to them each time they log in to the digital service. Claimants access the digital service using their Government Gateway ID and passcode and their National Insurance number.
Not all changes can be reported on-line but HMRC update the site regularly and new features and improvements are frequently added.
The main telephone number is the tax credit helpline: 0345 300 3900 (textphone 0345 300 3909). From abroad, you can ring +44 2890 538 192.
For claimants reporting that their joint household has ended and they wish to make a fresh single claim, HMRC can take the details for the new single claim by telephone. For many, this means it will be easier to notify a change in household from joint to singe by telephone rather than on-line or by post, until HMRC’s on-line claims service is developed. Claimants in this situation should take note that rollout of Universal Credit full service may prevent a fresh tax credits claim in their post code area and they may need to claim Universal Credit in place of a new single tax credit claim.
Change of circumstances
HMRC - Tax Credit Office
Given the potential consequences of overpayments and penalties if changes are reported late, it is crucial that records are kept when changes are reported.
For calls to the helpline, it is recommended that claimants record the date, time, operator name and brief details of the call.
For letters sent to the Tax Credit Office it is recommended that a copy of each letter is kept and that it is sent recorded delivery (requiring a signature) as a minimum. At the very least a proof of posting should be obtained. Claimants should also ensure they check each award notice carefully to ensure the latest change has been recorded. If it hasn’t they must inform HMRC within 30 days that their award notice is incorrect.
Where claimants notify changes on-line, they should receive an acknowledgement as they complete the on-line submission and we recommend printing a copy of this acknowledgement and subsequently checking their award and payments following the change.
Additional information about changes of circumstances
The HMRC tax credit technical manual contains a section about changes of circumstances. Specifically for information about:
- Effective date of changes in circumstances
- Effective date of change – disability and severe disability element cases WTC
- Effective date of change – disability and severe disability element cases CTC
HMRC have confirmed that where a claimant is notifying HMRC that a young person who appears on their claims for both child tax credit and child benefit is either staying on or leaving full-time non-advanced education or approved training, the notification to either the tax credit helpline or the child benefit helpline will be updated on both child benefit and tax credit records. However, as this is just an internal administrative arrangement, claimants should not rely on this option and must still check that their awards are correct and notify both child benefit office and tax credit office separately.
‘Tell us once’ – Bereavement service
Tell us once is a Government service which links up a notification of death across many different Government records so that the person notifying the death doesn’t have to notify each different area separately. The service isn’t available right across the UK or in Northern Ireland. There is information on the GOV.UK website which shows how ‘Tell us once’ works, which records it covers and where it is available
Updated 6 September 2017