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HMRC must be sympathetic to those facing fines over confusion about child benefit changes

8 Hydref 2013

HMRC need to be more sympathetic to the thousands of parents facing fines on top of the cuts to their child benefit, the Chief Executive of Citizens Advice has said.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice said:

“HMRC should be taking responsibility for the confusion currently surrounding the changes to child benefit. Since Saturday’s deadline to register for tax self-assessment has passed many families are facing fines because it has not been made clear to them if they qualify under the new criteria.

“We have seen 4,425 people access our online advice about the changes to child benefit in the last month – more than ever before. This shows the significant level of uncertainty that remains, including for unresolved issues such as whether it is taxable or gross income that counts.

“The government must be sympathetic to those who have missed the deadline and who could now be fined on top of the loss of their child benefit.”

If you are currently receiving child benefit, to find out what you need to do to avoid fines, please see the free online advice available on the Adviceguide website.

Notes to editors:

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit You can also get advice online at
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  5. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.