If your tax credits have stopped
Your working tax credits or child tax credits might have stopped because:
- you didn’t report a change in circumstances - see changes that could affect your tax credits for what you need to report
- you didn’t complete your annual review in time
- you didn’t reply when HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) wrote to check details of your claim - known as a ‘compliance check’
- HMRC looked at your annual review or compliance check and decided you no longer qualify for tax credits
If you’ve been told to claim Universal Credit by a certain date
The Department for Work and Pensions are stopping some people’s benefits and telling them to claim Universal Credit instead.
If you get a letter telling you to claim Universal Credit by a certain deadline, this is a ‘migration notice’. You should claim Universal Credit by the deadline in the migration notice. Your old benefits will stop after the deadline.
You might miss out on some money if you apply after the deadline.
HMRC should have written to tell you that your tax credits are being stopped. The letter will say something like ‘you’re no longer entitled to tax credits’ and should tell you why. You should also have been sent a final award notice shortly after this letter.
If you can’t find the letter, you can call the tax credits helpline to find out why your tax credits have stopped.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tax credits helpline
Telephone: 0345 300 3900
Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0345 300 3900
You can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone. There’s no extra charge to use it. Find out how to use Relay UK on the Relay UK website.
If you're calling outside of the UK: +44 2890 538 192
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Telephone (Welsh language): 0300 200 1900
Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm
Your call is likely to be free of charge if you have a phone deal that includes free calls to landlines - find out more about calling 03 numbers.
Make a note of the date and time you call. Also write down the name of the person you spoke to and the HMRC office they work in - for example Preston or Belfast. You might need these details when you ask for your tax credits to start again.
Food banks and help with other emergency expenses
It can take a few months to get your tax credit payments started again. If you don’t have enough to live on while you wait, you can get emergency help with things like food or items you need for your house - for example a bed or cooker.
See food banks and help with other emergency expenses for how to apply.
Challenging HMRC’s decision to stop your tax credits
If you disagree with HMRC’s reasons for stopping your tax credits, you can ask them to change the decision. For example, if they stopped your tax credits because they think you’re living with a partner when you’re not.
To do this, you’ll need to ask for a ‘mandatory reconsideration’. See challenging a working or child tax credits decision for how to ask for one.
Making a new claim while you’re challenging a decision
You can only make a new tax credits claim in certain circumstances.
If you made a claim for tax credits in the last tax year, you might be able to make a new claim. You should talk to an adviser to find out if you can.
If you’re able to, you can make a new tax credits claim while waiting for a mandatory reconsideration but you should check with a Citizens Advice adviser first. They’ll look at your circumstances to see if you’ll get a payment sooner by making a new claim or if you’ll be worse off.
Check if you should move to Universal Credit
You have to claim Universal Credit instead of tax credits if either:
you get a letter telling you to claim Universal Credit by a certain date
your tax credits claim ends because of a change in circumstances - check if a change affects your tax credits
You can still move to Universal Credit if neither of these things happen - but it’s important to check if you’ll be better off.
If you claim Universal Credit:
you won’t be able to claim tax credits again, even if HMRC decides they shouldn’t have stopped paying you
other benefits you get might be stopped
If you have a choice between staying on your old benefits and claiming Universal Credit, talk to an adviser. They can help you work out how much you’d get on Universal Credit.
If you get Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction
Tell your local authority your tax credits have stopped. You might get more Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction.