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HMRC letters 'confusing' parents over child benefits

Trade union the TUC has attacked the "complicated and confusing" letters sent to households which it said could lead to some people still entitled to child benefits opting out with "disastrous" consequences.

General secretary Frances O'Grady called on the Government to restore universal child benefit, as the deadline to register with HM Revenue and Customs ends tomorrow.

Quite apart from the fact that the decision to withdraw the benefit is unfairly hitting single parents, many families where one parent earns more than £50,000 are - even at this late stage - still unaware that unless they've visited the HMRC website by the end of tomorrow they may be fined.

To make matters worse, HMRC isn't only sending letters to those parents affected by the change.

– Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC

Parents registering 'last minute' for child benefits

The chief executive of HM Revenue and Customs has warned parents to not leave registering for child benefits "until the last minute", on the eve of the stated deadline.

Lin Homer told BBC Radio 5 Live:

We think there are about 200,000 people who need to get off their backsides and do something.

HMRC is committed to helping people pay the right amount of tax and urges parents who have been affected by the changes to child benefit to register for self-assessment.

We know that lots of people leave it until the last minute.


HM Revenue head's warning over child benefit cuts

Better-off parents affected by child benefit cuts need to "get off their backsides" and register with HM Revenue and Customs, its head warned on the the eve of the stated deadline.

A general view of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) contact centre in Belfast. Credit: PA

Families were given until the end of tomorrow to opt out of receiving the state help or register for income tax self-assessment so some or all of it can be clawed back - or face possible fines.

Officials say that in reality punishments are unlikely to be imposed on anyone who complies by the end of January, but HMRC chief executive Lin Homer said many thousands had still not done so.