Tax Credits: The annual cycle

Tax credits, unlike other benefits, follow an annual cycle based on the tax year (6 April – 5 April).

We have created a pdf timeline that explains the basic annual tax credits cycle.

Use the links below to find out more information about:

Claims starting: This section explains what happens when HMRC receive a tax credits claim, what counts as a valid claim and how initial decisions are made.

Claims changing: Once an initial claim has been made, it can be changed several times during a year. This sections explains when and how changes can be made during the tax year, during the renewals period and after the tax year has ended.

Renewals: After the tax year has ended, claimants are asked to ‘renew’ their claims. This section explains the renewals process including the difference between renewing and finalising, what happens if you don’t renew and how to deal with renewal problems.

Claims finishing: After the tax year has ended, HMRC must send certain notices in order to finalise a claim for the year just ended. This section explains how claims are finalised and when finalised awards can be changed.

Critical dates: This section sets out important dates in the tax credits year.

Last reviewed/updated 1 July 2022