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If your tax credits have stopped

This advice applies to Scotland

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

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 other crisis help in your area 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. 

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.  

Claiming other benefits

You might be able to make a new claim for Universal Credit.

You can’t claim Universal Credit if you’re getting, or recently stopped getting a benefit with a severe disability premium (SDP).

If you’ve been getting an SDP, you can make a new claim for tax credits while you’re waiting for a mandatory reconsideration. You can also apply for the other benefits Universal Credit is replacing – check which benefits Universal Credit is replacing.

If you should have been getting an SDP but it’s not included in your benefits, contact your nearest Citizens Advice.

Check if you’ve been getting a severe disability premium

You might get an SDP with:

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

Check your benefit award letter to see if you’re getting an SDP – it usually says you’re getting it “because you are severely disabled”.

You can’t claim Universal Credit if you’re getting a benefit with an SDP. 

You also can’t claim Universal Credit if you stopped getting a benefit with an SDP in the last month and you can still get an SDP. Check if you can get an SDP on GOV.UK.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you’re getting a disability benefit from a country in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

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

You should get help from your local Citizens Advice before making a claim for 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.

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