How do I renew my tax credits?

The tax credits renewal season is upon us leaving many wondering how to renew tax credits, when the deadline is and what happens if you miss the deadline.

Read on to have those all-important tax credits questions answered.

Do I need to renew my tax credit?

Although exceptions were made in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, tax credits must usually be renewed each year by the 31st July. This is to ensure that you receive the correct amount of money depending on your earnings for the previous tax year.

Not everyone has to renew tax credits each year, but HMRC will always tell you if you need to.

Put simply, if your correspondence from HMRC reads ‘check now’, all you have to do is check your details and contact HMRC only if they are incorrect. You can read what constitutes a change in circumstances here.

If the first page of your pack asks you to ‘reply now’ then you must complete a tax credits renewal.

How do I renew my tax credits claim?

You should receive your renewal form from HMRC anytime from April to the end of June. If you have not received this by the end of June, then call HMRC on the tax credits helpline on 0345 300 3900.

Once you have received your renewal forms, there are three ways in which you can renew:

  • Fill in your renewal forms and return them by post.
  • Renew over the phone by calling HMRC.
  • Use the online renewal service – you will need a Government Gateway account to complete this way.

Whichever way you choose to renew your tax credits you will need the following information:

  • 15-digit reference number – you can find this on your renewal pack
  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Changes to your personal circumstances – e.g., changes to salary or living arrangements.
  • Total income received for the last tax year – this also includes your partner’s if you live together.

After you have completed your renewal the tax credits office should be in contact within 8 weeks of receiving your renewal to let you know how much tax credits you will receive in the following year.

When do I need to complete my tax credits renewal by?

The deadline to renew tax credits is the 31st July but you can complete your tax renewal as soon as you receive your renewal pack via post.

Please Note: Although the tax credits renewal is yearly, if your circumstances change you must notify HMRC within a month of these changes. Failure to do so could result in a £300 fine.

What happens if I don’t renew my tax credits?

If you miss the deadline to file your tax credits renewal, then your tax credits payments will stop. You will then receive a statement and HMRC will recover any tax credits payments you received since April this tax year.

If you contact HMRC within 30 days of receiving this statement then HMRC may restore your tax credits claim and you will not have to pay anything back.

If you haven’t renewed your tax credits and do not contact HMRC within 30 days of receiving the above statement, there is still a chance you can have your tax credits claim restored. HMRC may give you until 31st January to renew, however there must be valid extenuating circumstances known as ‘good cause’.

If you don’t have a valid reason for missing the tax credits renewal deadline you cannot start the application process again. Instead, you can apply for universal credit. You will not receive any payments while this application goes through so it’s best to complete your renewal on time wherever possible.

Where can I go for help with my tax credits renewal?

For help with your tax credits renewal, contact HMRC direct or head to your local citizens advice bureau. They will be able to advise and support you with your renewal.

Failure to renew your tax credits can result in a significant loss of income and can potentially lead to financial distress. Make sure you get your renewal in by the 31st July and ensure all details are correct to avoid the termination of your payments and a fine.

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