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Renewing your working and child tax credits

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

If you got tax credits last year, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will send you a renewal pack at the start of the tax year for each claim you made. It will come in April, May or June.

It’s important to follow the instructions in the pack so your tax credits carry on, and to make sure you got the right amount last year. Try and respond quickly, but you still have options if you miss the deadline.

Your pack will contain either:

  • just an ‘Annual Renewal Notice’, giving details about your claim - you’ll only need to contact HMRC if there’s a mistake
  • an Annual Renewal Notice and an 'Annual Declaration Form' - you’ll need to check the notice is correct, and send the form back to HMRC

You’ll get a pack for every claim you made. For example, if you made more than one claim last year because you split up with your partner and moved from a joint claim to a single claim. You should check each of these and respond if you need to - even if you’re giving them the same information twice.

If you don’t get a letter by the end of June, contact HMRC.

Checking your Annual Review Notice

The Annual Review Notice lists all the details HMRC has about you - for example your income and the benefits you get.

Check that everything’s correct, even if you’ve already told HMRC about a change.

Look out for:

  • mistakes or out-of-date information, for example if your income’s been wrongly calculated or your partner's moved in with you
  • anything that’s missing, for example if you or your child gets a disability benefit which isn’t mentioned

Check whether any details are wrong because your circumstances have changed since the time HMRC sent your renewal pack. You should also check if a change affects your tax credits to find out which changes HMRC needs to know about.

If all the details on the Annual Review Notice are correct and up-to-date you don’t need to do anything. Your tax credits will continue at the amount shown in the letter and you won’t be contacted by HMRC again for a year.

You’ll need to tell HMRC about anything that’s wrong or missing by the deadline on the notice.

If you miss the deadline, the fastest way to give HMRC the right information is to call the tax credits helpline on 0345 300 3900. Ask them to send written confirmation of what you discussed.

If you got an Annual Declaration Form

Your tax credits won’t be automatically renewed. You’ll need to fill in the Annual Declaration Form and send it back. Your renewal pack will include instructions on how to give the right information.

If you’re self-employed, you need to confirm your income even if you don’t know your profit for last year.

You should still renew by the deadline in your letter, giving the best estimate you can. There’s a box in the Annual Declaration Form that you can tick to show it’s only an estimate.

When you have the final figure, tell HMRC by 31 January - although if you know it before this date, tell them as soon as you can. If you don’t meet the deadline, HMRC might pay you too much, and you’ll have to pay them back.

If you miss the deadline

If you miss the deadline, your tax credits will stop - you’ll get a letter confirming this. Call HMRC within 30 days of the date in your letter to renew and to ask for your tax credits to be restarted. It’s quickest to call the tax credits helpline on 0345 300 3900 to do this - ask them to send you a letter to confirm you’ve renewed.

If you're over 30 days late, you can still ask for your tax credits to be restarted but you'll need to do this before 31 January and have a good reason. When your tax credits restart, they’ll be back-dated to cover the payments that you missed.

If you don’t have a good reason for missing the deadline, or it’s after 31 January, you might have to pay some of your tax credits back. Read more about dealing with a tax credits overpayment.

If your tax credits do stop, read more about extra help if you're on benefits or your benefits have stopped

Responding to HMRC

Keep a record of any contact you have with HMRC in case you need to prove you got back to them on time. 

You can renew your tax credits online on GOV.UK. For security HMRC will send you a text message with a code - you'll need to enter the code on GOV.UK to be able to renew.

When you’ve finished, save or print the acknowledgement that HMRC sends you.

You can also renew your tax credits using the HMRC app. You’ll need to log in with your fingerprint or a 6-digit PIN. The app also lets you check when your next payment is due.

If you can’t renew online or by using the app, you can return your pack to HMRC by post. Use the envelope in your pack or send it to this address:

HM Revenue and Customs - Tax Credit Office
Comben House
Farriers Way
Netherton
L75 1AX

Send the completed form by Royal Mail Signed For and keep the receipt - you might need to prove when you posted it and when it arrived.

You can also call the tax credits helpline.

HMRC tax credits helpline
Telephone: 0345 300 3900
Textphone: 0345 300 3909
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm
Sunday, 9am to 5pm

Calls cost up to 12p a minute from landlines and up to 45p a minute from mobiles. It should be free if you call from your mobile and have landline calls included in your contract.

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 if you need to prove you renewed on time.

Getting confirmation

HMRC will send you an 'award notice' confirming the amount of tax credits you'll get.

Check your award notice carefully to make sure everything is correct. Call the tax credits helpline immediately if there are mistakes - you’ll have to pay back any tax credits you’re overpaid. 

If you don't get this letter 8 weeks after renewing, call the tax credits helpline - they can confirm your renewal. Ask them to send you a letter so you have it in writing.

If you need more help

Visit your your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help with your renewal. Tell them when your deadline is and they’ll book you an appointment before then.

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