18 January 2018

Tax credit claim forms and UC roll-out

In areas where UC is due to be rolled out, people may still wish to claim tax credits before UC becomes available.

HMRC have issued a reminder about the way such requests should be handled if the new tax credit claim is for a household which is in a postcode area becoming a UC full service area within 3 weeks of the date of the request.

When a person contacts HMRC to make a new claim to tax credits, HMRC will check that a claim to tax credits can be made and is not prevented by UC full service availability in the area. 

Where the person lives in an area where UC full Service is already available and exceptions* do not apply, the helpline adviser explains that they are prevented from claiming tax credits and directs them to claim UC.

Where the person lives in a postcode area which will become a UC full Service area in the next 3 weeks (from the date of the request), they will be asked if they want to make a new claim for tax credits over the phone and if they do, HMRC advisers will take the new claim over the phone.This process is in place because if a claim pack is sent in the post and received after an area becomes part of the UC full Service area, the person will be prevented from claiming tax credits.  HMRC’s published timescale for issuing a tax credit claim pack is up to 2 weeks.

If the person does not want to make their claim over the telephone, HMRC will still send them a claim pack in the post but they will explain that if the completed claim is received back on or after the date the postcode becomes a UC full Service area the claim will be rejected. 

HMRC would like to encourage people to make their claim by telephone in these circumstances and recommends that any advisers who hold stocks of tax credit claims should encourage prospective claimants to ring HMRC to check if they can make a claim before handing them a claim pack.

Where the person lives in a postcode area which is not due to become a UC full Service area within 3 weeks or they meet one of the exceptions*, HMRC will issue a tax credits claim pack in the normal way.

*The exceptions relate to new claims for 3 or more children (where they cannot claim UC due to an exception) and those who have reached pension credit qualifying age.  These groups are unable to claim UC but can claim tax credits, unless the pension credit qualifying age claimant is part of a mixed age couple in which case they can currently choose to claim UC or tax credits.

Check the latest UC roll-out position by area using universalcreditinfo