The deadline for tax credit renewals is days away. Our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis warns you not to dither, or your payments could stop. Here are his tips on what to do.
The tax credit deadline is on 31st July, a week today. If you’re one of the seven million people who have been sent a review form, don’t ignore it. Do that, and your payments could STOP, or you could be forced to repay cash you’ve already spent!
What are tax credits?
Tax credits are payouts made regularly into your bank account from the state to support those with children or those in work but with a low income. There are two types – Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. But those who’ve already got them need to renew them now!
How do I renew?
What you need to do depends on what you were sent by the tax credit office.
Did you get a review form only (brown envelope)?
Check it carefully (mistakes can cause big problems) and if everything is correct, do nothing – your tax credits will automatically be renewed.
Yet if anything even minor isn’t correct, report by post, or to the 0345 300 3900 hotline as soon as possible.
Did you get a review and declaration form (white envelope)?
Here, even if everything is correct, you MUST sign it and send it back by 31st July or call the tax credit hotline to confirm your details. If there are errors, either complete them on the form and send it back, or call the 0345 300 3900hotline.
Check the renewal even if you don’t want to claim anymore
It’s important to do this even if you’re not entitled to credits any more or don’t want to claim any more. This is because the renewal pack isn't just estimating your credits for the next year, it's checking whether you were correctly paid for the last year. So failing to sort it out could leave you suffering overpayment or underpayment problems.
Don't delay, do it ASAP
The deadline is 31 July, but don't leave it till then. If you've issues, the official hotline for help gets mega-busy. Frankly it’s likely to be rammed already, and it’s likely to get busier every day nearing the deadline. HMRC says mid-afternoons tend to be quieter, so this is the best time to call. If you can’t get through at first, wait in the queue on the phone, or just keep ringing.
If you still can’t get through, make a note of when you called and what you wanted to tell them. You can also make your renewal by post – although as it’s so close to the deadline it may be risky relying on it to arrive in time.
If anything changes, at any time, TELL THEM
As we’re talking tax credits, it’s time for my annual warning. If anything changes, as soon as it changes, even if it’s not at renewal time (or if you’ve already done your renewal and it’s happened since) TELL THEM.
If not, you risk being overpaid. While that sounds a dream, it's a nightmare, as you will be asked to find the cash to pay it back, even if you’ve already spent it.
These changes can be anything - moving in/out with a partner, changing working hours, change in income, the number of kids you have or childcare costs. The golden rule is: if you’re not sure, tell them.
Also for safety, always note down who you spoke to and what you told them, and when, in case of a dispute later on.
Daily updated hints, tips and money help from Martin Lewis at MoneySavingExpert.com