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Child Tax Credit

Key information

Child Tax Credit is paid to help with the costs of bringing up a child. 

It does not include any help with the costs of childcare. If you are working and you are on a low income, you may be entitled to Working Tax Credit and this benefit can include help with childcare costs.

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age rules: You can get Child Tax Credit if you are 16 or over.

If you are under 16 your parents or someone who is responsible for you could include you and your child in their own claim.

Type of benefit: Means tested

Taxable: No

Administered by: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)



You can read through this information sheet, or go directly to the sections you want to read by clicking on these links:

Who does it help?

You can get Child Tax Credit if:

  • you are 16 or over, and
  • you are responsible for at least one child.

The child must be:

If you have a child aged between 16 and 19 included in your claim, each year by 31 August you will need to inform HMRC if they remain in full time non advanced education (FTNAE). If you fail to do so the child will be removed from your claim and your award will be reduced or will stop if there is no longer any entitlement.

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How much does it pay?

It is very complicated to work out how much Child Tax Credit you might get. A maximum amount is made up of different parts based on your personal circumstances, for example:

  • A  family element - for each family    
  • A child element - for each child
  • Disability elements - for children who are disabled

This amount is then compared to your annual income. Savings do not affect your claim but interest from savings is included as income.

The Turn2us Benefits Calculator can calculate how much Child Tax Credit you may be entitled to.

Child Tax Credit is included in the Benefit Cap which limits the total amount in some benefits that working-age people can receive. See our Benefit Cap information page for more details.

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How do I make a claim?

Get a claim form by phoning HM Revenue and Customs Tax Credits Helpline:

Telephone: 0345 300 3900
Textphone: 0345 300 3909

You have to renew your claim by 31 July every year. If you do not renew it, your tax credit payments may stop. See the website for more information on renewing tax credits (link opens in a new window).

Assisted Claims Service for foster carers

An assisted claims service for foster carers who wish to claim tax credits is available. Contact the Tax Credits Helpline (details above) for more information.

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What documents do I need?

You should give your national insurance number. If you do not have a national insurance number, send in the claim form anyway to save delays. You may also be asked for proof of your identity such as a birth certificate, passport or driving licence.You may also be asked for proof of your annual income, for example, bank statements or pay slips.

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Can it be backdated?

Child Tax Credit can be backdated for up to one month if you would have been entitled to it earlier. It does not matter why your claim is late. Request this when claiming.

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Challenging decisions

If you disagree with the decision made on your claim you can ask for it to be looked at again, and/or appeal.

The time limits are strict, you will usually be given one month to dispute a decision, so it is important to seek advice and act quickly.

Further information on Challenges and complaints

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Change of circumstance

Child Tax Credit is paid on a year by year basis but it is very important to tell HM Revenue and Customs  about changes in your circumstances during the year which could affect the money you get. You must tell them about some changes within one month.

See the website for more information on changes that affect your tax credits (link opens in a new window).

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Further help

For further help you can phone the Tax Credit helpline 0345 300 3900.

Last updated: 4 August 2014

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