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Working Tax Credit - overview

Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) will eventually replace Child Tax Credit.

UC is currently being rolled out to certain areas across the UK. Depending on where you live and what your personal circumstances are, you might be able to claim UC instead of Child Tax Credit.

To see if you live in a UC area, follow these steps:

Read more about UC.

Check if you’re eligible for Working Tax Credit

Before you apply for Working Tax Credit you should check that you can get it.

You’re single and you don’t have children

You might be able to get Working Tax Credit if one of the following applies:

  • you're aged between 25 and 59, you work 30 hours a week or more and your income must fall below a certain level
  • you're 60 or over, you work at least 16 hours a week and your income falls below a certain level
  • you're disabled, aged 16 or over, you work at least 16 hours a week, your income is low, you get (or have got) certain qualifying benefits and your disability makes it harder for you to get a job

Check if you qualify for Working Tax Credit on GOV.UK.

You’re single and you have children

You might be able to get Working Tax Credit if you’re 16 or over, you work at least 16 hours a week and your income falls below a certain level

Check if you qualify for Working Tax Credit on GOV.UK.

You’re in a couple and you don’t have children

You might be able to get Working Tax Credit if one of the following applies to you or your partner:

  • you're aged between 25 and 59, you work 30 hours a week or more and your income falls below a certain level
  • you're 60 or over, you work at least 16 hours a week and your income falls below a certain level
  • you're disabled, aged 16 or over, you work at least 16 hours a week, your income is low, you get certain benefits because of your disability and your disability makes it harder for you to get a job

Check if you qualify for Working Tax Credit on GOV.UK.

You’re in a couple and you have children

You might be able to get Working Tax Credit if one of the following applies:

  • you’re 16 or over, either you or your partner work at least 16 hours a week and the two of you work at least 24 hours a week between you in total (for example, you work 16 hours a week and your partner works 8 hours a week)
  • you're disabled, aged 16 or over, you work at least 16 hours a week, your income is low, you get benefits because of your disability and your disability makes it hard for you to get another job
  • you’re 16 or over, you work at least 16 hours a week and your partner is a hospital in-patient, entitled to Carer's Allowance, in prison or considered to be incapacitated
  • you’re 60 or over and you work at least 16 hours a week

Check if you qualify for Working Tax Credit on GOV.UK.

You’re on maternity leave, paternity leave or adoption leave

You can carry on getting or claim Working Tax Credit before you go back to work, as long as:

  • you’re already responsible for a child
  • you normally work 16 hours or more

This rule only applies to:

  • the first 39 weeks of maternity or adoption leave
  • the first 2 weeks of paternity leave
  • the first 39 weeks of adoption leave

If it’s your first baby and you’re not responsible for any other children, you’ll have to wait until your child is born - or comes to live with you - before you can claim.

Check if you qualify for Working Tax Credit on GOV.UK.

Working Tax Credit if you’re disabled

You can claim Working Tax Credit as long as:

  • you’re aged 16 or over
  • you work at least 16 hours a week
  • your income falls below a certain level
  • you’re getting a qualifying benefit because of your disability - or you used to get a qualifying benefit before your started work
  • you’re ‘disadvantaged in getting a job’, which means you find it harder to get a job because of your disability

Which benefits qualify

You'll qualify for Working Tax Credit if you get one of these benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • a mobility supplement or Constant Attendance Allowance with Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • a war pension with constant attendance allowance

You might qualify for Working Tax Credits if you were getting one of these benefits before you started work:

  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance 
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Occupational sick pay
  • Income Support
  • National Insurance credits

There are rules about when - and for how long - you need to have been getting some of these benefits for, before you claim Working Tax Credit.

How you’re disadvantaged in getting a job

HMRC has rules about the way your disability or impairment affects you. They use these to decide if you’re disadvantaged in getting a job.

HMRC might ask you for the name of a doctor (or another healthcare professional) who can confirm how your disability affects your chances of finding work.

All the rules around qualifying for Working Tax Credit if you’re disabled are explained in HMRC’s tax credits disability helpsheet TC956.

How your income affects your claim for Working Tax Credit

To get Working Tax Credit your income must be below a certain level. The exact level depends on your circumstances - it can be around £26,000 for a family with one child, but it could be higher if you pay for childcare, or you or your partner is disabled.

When HMRC look at your claim, they’ll use your income for the previous tax year to work out what you should get.

They’ll ignore:

  • all maintenance and child support
  • the first £100 of Statutory Maternity, Paternity or Adoption Pay each week
  • all Maternity Allowance

You should let HMRC know if you’re likely to earn a lot more or less in the current tax year. HMRC will check that you’re still getting the right amount of tax credits and change it if necessary.

You can tell HMRC about a change in your income later on, but that might mean either:

  • you don’t get paid as much as you should for a while
  • you get an overpayment and you have to pay back what you owe later on

How much Working Tax Credit you could get

Use the tax credits calculator on GOV.UK to find out how much Working Tax Credit you could get.

Apply for Working Tax Credit

You apply for Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit at the same time.

Order a claim form

To apply for Working Tax Credit, you’ll need to order a tax credits claim form. To do this you can either:

Tax Credits Helpline
Phone: 0345 300 3900
Textphone: 0345 300 3909
Welsh: 0300 200 1900
Text Relay service prefix: 18001

When you order the form you’ll need:

  • your National Insurance number
  • your income for the last tax year, for example your payslips or a P60
  • details of any benefits you get
  • details of any childcare payments you get
  • the number of hours you work each week

Fill in the claim form

To help you fill in the form, you should get together all your paperwork to do with:

  • your income for the previous tax year, for example your P60
  • statements about any benefits you receive
  • statements from your bank or building society about any savings
  • payments to your childcare provider, if you're claiming childcare costs

If you need any help, contact the Tax Credits Helpline or speak to an adviser at your Local Citizens Advice.

Make sure you take care when you fill in the form - if you send the wrong information and HMRC can tell that you didn’t fill in the form carefully, you could get a penalty of up to £3000.

Accidentally giving the wrong information could also mean you get an overpayment, which you’ll have to pay back.

Deliberately giving the wrong information is benefit fraud - this is a criminal offence and you could be prosecuted or made to pay a fine.

Return the claim form by post

You can find the address on the form. If you claim benefits you can give your form to your JobCentre Plus.

Check the progress of your claim

Once you have made your claim for working tax credit, you can check how long it will take HMRC to get back to you using their ‘Where's my reply? - tax credits’ tool.

If there’s a problem with your claim

Call the Tax Credits Helpline and ask HMRC to explain their decision if:

  • you’re refused Working Tax Credit and you think you’re entitled to it
  • you think the amount you’ve been awarded is wrong

You can make a formal request for the decision to be looked at again if you're not satisfied with the explanation. This is called a mandatory reconsideration. You must ask for a mandatory reconsideration within 30 days of the date of the decision.

HMRC has a leaflet that explains what to do if you think your Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit is wrong.

Get your working tax credit backdated

You might be able to get your working tax credit backdated if you were eligible to make a claim earlier, but you didn't.

When you apply, ask for backdated tax credits on your application form. You can usually only get working tax credit backdated for a maximum of 31 days before the date you apply.

How working tax credit is paid

Your Working Tax Credit will be paid directly into your bank or building society account, or into a post office card account.

You can choose to get your payment every week or every 4 weeks, as long as you’re entitled to £2 or more each week.  The money will go into your account at the end of each payment period.

You’ll get all the money in one payment if you're entitled to less than £2 each week.

You can find out how much and when you’ll be paid using the Manage your tax credits tool on GOV.UK.

Tax credits are awarded for a whole tax year. A tax year runs from 6 April one year to 5 April the next year. If you claim after April, your award will run from the date you claim to the end of the tax year. The amount you get is usually set for a year.

If your circumstances change

Let HMRC know if your circumstances change, for example if  you’re working a different number of hours, your income changes or you have a child. This is important because otherwise you may not be paid all the tax credits you're entitled to, or you may be paid too much (an overpayment) and have to pay it back.

You can tell the Tax Credit Office about a change of circumstances on GOV.UK

Renew your Working Tax Credit

Shortly after the end of the tax year, HMRC will send you a renewal pack.

They might ask you to give them some extra information. It's very important that you give HMRC any information they ask for, even if you don't want to renew your claim - your payments could stop or you may have to pay back an overpayment if you don't.

Find out how to renew your Working Tax Credit on GOV.UK.

Other help you could get

You might be entitled to claim benefits like Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.

Use a benefit calculator to find out what other benefits you could get.

You could also get help from social fund and welfare schemes for things that aren’t normal everyday expenses, like the clothes and equipment you need when you have a baby, or funeral costs.

Concentrix tax credits checks

HMRC is working with a company called Concentrix to check tax credits claims are correct and up to date.

If someone from Concentrix contacts you, it's really important that you give them the information or evidence they ask for, by the date they say. Your tax credits award could be changed if you don't.

Concentrix could contact you by phone or letter. They won’t ask you to share any personal or payment information by text or email.

You can contact call Concentrix on 0345 300 390 if you're concerned about contact you've had from them, or you disagree with a decision they’ve made following a check.

You can also write to them at:

Concentrix on behalf of HM Revenue and Customs
PO Box 4949
Lancing
BN11 9YS