Your tax credits could go up, down or stop if there are changes in your family or work life. You must report any changes to your circumstances to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Do this as soon as possible to make sure you get the right amount of tax credits. You will have to pay back the money if you are overpaid.
If your tax credits stop, you can only make a new claim for tax credits if you get the severe disability premium or got it in the past month and are still eligible for it.
Changes you must report
Tell HMRC straight away if your:
- living circumstances change, for example you start or stop a relationship, move in with a new partner, get married or form a civil partnership, permanently separate or divorce
- child or partner dies
- child leaves home, for example moves out or goes into care
- child is taken into custody
- child over 16 leaves approved education or training, or a careers service
- childcare costs stop, go down by £10 or more a week, or you start getting help with them
- childcare provider is no longer registered or approved
- working hours fall below 30 hours a week (combined if you are in a couple with children)
- working hours fall below or go above the minimum required to qualify
You will have to make a new claim for tax credits if you start or end a relationship or your partner dies.
You must also tell HMRC straight away if you:
- go abroad for eight weeks or more
- leave the UK permanently or lose the right to reside in the UK
- start working for less than 16 hours while claiming childcare costs - except in certain situations
- have been on strike for more than ten consecutive days
If you receive tax credits you are not entitled to, you will need to repay the money. You may also have to pay a penalty.
Deadline for reporting
You must report these changes within one month. You will reduce the amount you are overpaid if you report them as soon as they happen.
You could be fined up to £300 if you do not report certain changes within one month, and up to £3,000 if you give wrong information.
If you estimated your income when you renewed your tax credits - for example because you are self-employed - tell HMRC your actual income by 31 January.
Other changes you should report
Your tax credits are less likely to be affected, for example by building up an overpayment, if you tell HMRC as soon as you:
- have any change in income (report this immediately if it goes up or down by £2,500 or more)
- increase your working hours to 30 hours or more a week (combined if you’re in a couple with children)
- have a baby or take responsibility for another child
- start or stop claiming benefits, or your benefits change
- start or stop getting a disability benefit, or a member of your family does (for example Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance)
- get certification that your child is blind (or no longer blind)
- start paying for registered or approved childcare
- stop getting help with childcare costs
You should report these changes within one month to make sure you get everything you are entitled to. Payments cannot usually be backdated any further than this.
You should also tell HMRC if you change:
- bank details - you can report this up to 30 days before it happens
- address - wait until you have moved before telling HMRC
- childcare provider
- your gender
How to report
You can report most changes online.
You cannot use the online service to report changes:
- to the bank account you want to use
- to how often you want to be paid
- that have not yet happened (apart from changes to existing childcare costs up to one week in advance)
You can report these and other changes by phone or post.
Before you start
Make sure you have as much information as possible about the change in circumstances. For example, if you have changed jobs you will need your employment dates and PAYE reference number for both jobs.
If you are signing in to the service for the first time, you will need:
- a Government Gateway user ID and password - if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you use the service
- a permanent National Insurance number
You also need to prove your identity. You can use one of the following as proof:
- your bank account details
- your P60
- your three most recent payslips
- your passport number and expiry date
Signing in will also activate your personal tax account - you can use this to check and manage your HMRC records.
Why your tax credits change
Your payments can go up if:
- your income goes down by more than £2,500
- your benefits stop or go down
- you start getting personal independence payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or other disability benefits for yourself or a child
- you have a child
- your childcare costs go up
Your payments can go down or stop if:
- you or your partner make a claim for Universal Credit (even if your claim is not approved)
- you move in with a partner who has made a claim for Universal Credit
- your income goes up by more than £2,500 - report this straight away to reduce the amount you’re overpaid
- you have not renewed your claim
- your award notice shows you have been overpaid
- you stop getting PIP, DLA or other disability benefits for yourself or a child
- your child is now 16, 18 or 19 and you have not told HMRC they are in approved education or training
- your childcare costs go down