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How can I check my tax credits?

How can I check my tax credits?
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Have you ever wondered how you can check your tax credits? Here’s what you need to know about accessing your tax credits file online and making any necessary changes.  

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What are tax credits?

Tax credits are a type of benefit payment. They can help if you’re working but on a low income, or if you need financial support to raise children. There are two types of tax credits:

  • Child Tax Credit: helps cover the cost of raising a child
  • Working Tax Credit: tops up your earnings if you have a low income 

What you receive depends on your individual circumstances. Some people only get one type, while others can get both. Here’s one thing to note, though: Universal Credit is replacing tax credits. So, if you’re not already on Universal Credit, you’ll be moved over at some point in the future. 

Why should I check my tax credits?

There are three main reasons why you should check your payments:

  1. Tax credits must be renewed annually – usually between May and July. If you don’t renew your application, then your payments could stop. So, it’s important you check to see when your payments are due for renewal and complete the process.
  2. There’s a chance that HMRC will accidentally pay you more than you’re due. If this happens, you must pay the money back as soon as possible, or else you could lose money from your future payments.
  3. If your circumstances change, you might be entitled to more or less money. By checking your file, you’ll see whether you need to report a change in circumstances and discover whether this affects the value of your claim. 

How do I check my tax credits?

It’s easy enough to check your tax credits. All you need to do is sign in to the Government Gateway – here’s how it works:

  • Haven’t signed in before? Simply create a new account. You’ll need your National Insurance number and two forms of ID, such as payslips and your passport details, to do this. Once you’ve signed up, use your new login details to sign in.  
  • If you’ve already signed in before, simply log in as usual and check your payments from the service homepage. 

If you want to renew your application or make any changes, simply follow the onscreen instructions. Don’t have access to an online account? Don’t worry, you can always call HMRC instead. 

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What happens if my details are wrong?

If there’s something wrong with your tax credits, don’t panic. Call the HMRC helpline on 0345 300 3900 and they’ll advise you what happens next. 

Do you need to report a change in circumstances? You can do this over the phone, too, but it’s easier and quicker to simply tell HMRC about the changes through the online service.

If you didn’t renew on time, contact HMRC right away to restart your payments. A word of caution, though: payments can only be backdated by a month. So, if you wait longer than a month after the deadline to renew your claim, you’ll lose money. 

Takeaway

If you receive tax credits, you must check how much you’re getting each month. Otherwise, you risk losing out on money in the long run. Keep an eye on your online account, and always report any changes in circumstances immediately. Don’t wait until the annual renewal! 

Finally, remember, you can always appeal a benefits decision if you feel it’s necessary. Simply contact HMRC or ask Citizens Advice for more help.  

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