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If your tax credits have stopped

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

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

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 heating or items you need for your house - for example a bed or cooker.

See help for people on a low income for how to apply.

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. 

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 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 when you ask for your tax credits to start again. 

Claiming other benefits

As well as tax credits, you might be able to get one or more of the these benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit

If you're over 18, you can use the Turn2Us benefits calculator to check which benefits you can get while sorting out your tax credits. 

If you already get Housing Benefit, tell your Housing Benefit office that your tax credits have stopped. You might get more Housing Benefit or rate relief. 

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.

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.  

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