Tax credits

Tax credits are state benefits that provide extra money to families and other people on lower incomes.

There are two types of tax credits: child tax credits, paid to families with children and working tax credits, paid to people in work on lower incomes. Tax credits are means-tested.

Who can get tax credits?

You can check if you qualify for tax credits online. It takes about 5 minutes to complete. If it looks like you qualify, you can order a tax credits claim form. Before you start, you will need a rough idea of your income (before tax and National Insurance for the current and previous tax years. 

You may need to use the more detailed tax credits calculator instead if:

  • you get the highest rate Care Component of Disability Living Allowance
  • you get the higher rate of Attendance Allowance
  • your partner has a disability
  • you get the Enhanced Daily Living Component of Personal Independence Payment


How to claim tax credits

You can apply for tax credits as a single person or as a couple. If you’re new to tax credits you can order a claim form by either online or by calling the Tax Credits Office. It takes up to 2 weeks for the form to arrive.

You can’t claim tax credits and Universal Credit at the same time.


You can claim tax credits at any time of the year. Usually, tax credits are backdated by up to one month from the start of your claim. Apply as soon as you know you’re eligible so you get all the money you’re entitled to.

Child Benefit payments aren’t affected by any tax credits you get, but other benefits like Housing Benefit are. If you get tax credits, you may get less of those benefits as a result. To work out how tax credits affect your benefits, please contact the office that pays your benefits. 

Report a Change of Circumstances

You must tell the Tax Credits Office as soon as possible if your circumstances change. You could be fined up to £300 if you don’t report a change within 30 days and up to £3,000 if you give wrong information carelessly or on purpose. You must tell the Tax Credit Office within 30 days if:

  • your child or partner dies
  • your child leaves home, e.g. moves out or goes into care
  • your child over 16 leaves an approved careers service
  • you child over 16 stays in or leaves approved education or training
  • your childcare costs stop, change by £10 or more a week, or you start getting help with them
  • your childcare provider is no longer registered or approved
  • you start a new job or your job stops
  • your living circumstances change, e.g. you start or stop a relationship, move in with a new partner, get married, permanently separate or divorce
  • your working hours fall below 30 hours a week (combined if you’re in a couple with children)
  • your working hours fall below or go above the minimum required to qualify.


Benefits checks

Are you sure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to as a carer? 


Benefits are changing

The government is radically overhauling the benefits system. Universal Credit will merge together some of the benefits and tax credits that you may be getting at the moment into a single monthly payment. Universal Credit will replace:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages. Most people won’t be affected to start with. At the moment, Universal Credit mainly affects newly unemployed people in specific areas of the country.


Useful contacts:

Richmond Carers Hub Service
Address: 5 Briar Road, Twickenham, TW2 6RB
Phone: 020 8867 2380

Richmond Council Adult Access Team
Address: Adult Social Services, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ
Phone: 020 8891 7971
Minicom: 18001 020 8891 7971