Tax Credits: Tax Credits Manuals

HMRC have 4 manuals that are published on the GOV.UK website and are useful for tax credits advisers.

These manuals explain in detail how HMRC interpret tax credits law, how their processes operate and how HMRC operate in specialist areas such as debt collection and compliance.

Tax Credits Technical Manual

Often referred to as the TCTM for short, this manual sets out how HMRC interpret the law relating to tax credits.

The manual is updated at various periods. A list of updates can be found on the GOV.UK website.

The manual is split into 13 sections:

  1. Overview
  2. Entitlement
  3. Maximum Rates
  4. Income
  5. Change of circumstances
  6. Claims and notifications
  7. Calculation of entitlement
  8. Payments
  9. Decision Making
  10. Compliance
  11. Transition to Universal Credit
  12. Consolidated legislation
  13. Abbreviations

This manual is useful if you are looking for information about certain parts of the legislation and can be quoted to HMRC in support of disputes and appeals. The layout is fairly self-explanatory and therefore easy to navigate if you know the topic you are looking for. There is a search function for the manual which is available on the top of each page.

Tax Credits Manual (TCM)

The TCTM manual (above) sets out HMRC’s interpretation of the law. This manual shows how that law is put into practice by setting out HMRC’s processes. You may see it referred to as the ‘New tax credits manual’.

This manual has many pages of information about processes. Generally each process has two main pages – an information page and an action guide (process) page. The first gives information about the process, often linking to the TCTM manual. The latter outlines the process in a step by step guide that staff follow.

The sheer volume and use of technical jargon makes the manual difficult to follow to those unfamiliar with the tax credits system. However, it does contain some very useful information that can be used in disputes, appeals and complaints. There are two main ways to use the manual.

The first is to search by topic area from the main index page. If you are looking for something more general this route works well.

The second way is to use the search function for the manual. The search box is available at the top of each page. 

HMRC publish updates to the manual online. The updates are listed in date order.

Tax Credits Claimant Compliance Manual

This manual, often referred to as CCM, is used by HMRC for tax credits compliance purposes. HMRC have a range of compliance powers including examinations, enquiries, discovery and penalties. This manual sets out how HMRC deal with each of these compliance powers.

The main navigation for this manual is via the index page. Below we have listed the main compliance functions and the chapters which contain relevant information.





This manual is particularly useful if you are representing a claimant who is undergoing some sort of compliance investigation. One of the most common enquiries focuses on undisclosed partners and Chapter 15 of the manual is useful reference in such cases.

The updates to the manual are listed on the GOV.UK website. Although arranged by topic and therefore easier to navigate, there is also a search function for the manual which is available via the box at the top of each page.

Debt Management and Banking Manual

This manual is not specifically for tax credits, but it does contain a section on tax credits which advisers may find useful.

Specifically it contains information on:

Last reviewed/updated 1 July 2022