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Working Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit is money provided to boost the income of working people who are on a low income.

1. What is Working Tax Credit?

Working Tax Credit is money provided to boost the income of working people who are on a low income. It does not matter whether you are working for someone else or are self-employed.

To get Working Tax Credit you must:

  • get payment for the work you do (or expect to)
  • you must work a certain number of hours a week, the number of hours you have to work depends on your circumstances for example your age, health, family responsibilities
  • have an income below a certain level (the level depends on your circumstances and the elements of Working Tax Credit you are entitled to).

Working Tax Credit counts as income when working out your entitlement to most other means-tested benefits.

You can’t claim Working Tax Credit if you’re claiming Universal Credit.


Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age rules: You must be 16 or over, but in some circumstances you must be 25 or over

Type of benefit: Means tested

Taxable: No

Administered by: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

 

Reviewed: August 2017
 

2. Can I get Working Tax Credit?

To get Working Tax Credit, you and/or your partner must work full time, though this means a different number of hours per week for different people:

  • If you are single and responsible for a child or qualifying young person, you must be 16 or over and you must work at least 16 hours a week.

  • If you are part of a couple and responsible for a child or qualifying young person, you must be 16 or over, and you must work at least 16 hours a week and your partner counts as incapacitated for the purposes of the childcare element, be entitled to Carer's Allowance, be in hospital or in prison.

  • If you are part of a couple and responsible for a child or qualifying young person, you must be 16 or over and you must work at least 24 hours a week between you (with one working at least 16 hours).

  • If you qualify for the disability element of Working Tax Credit you must be 16 or over and you must work at least 16 hours a week.

  • If you are 60 or over, you must work at least 16 hours a week.

  • Otherwise, you must be 25 or over and work at least 30 hours a week.

If your hours are not the same every week or you need help to calculate how many hours you work, see our Working hours guide.

 

Reviewed; August 2017

3. How much Working Tax Credit will I get?

It is complicated to work out how much Working Tax Credit you can get so we suggest using the Turn2us Benefits Calculator which can calculate how much you may be entitled to.

Your maximum entitlement is made up of different parts based on your personal circumstances, for example:

  • A basic element    

  • A lone parent element

  • A couple element

  • A Working Tax Credit childcare element

  • An element for working 30 hours or more per week

  • Disability elements

  • Severe Disability element

You may not get your maximum entitlement if you have other income. Savings do not affect your claim but interest from savings is included in your income.

Benefit Cap

Getting Working Tax Credit exempts you from the Benefit Cap which limits the total amount in some benefits that working-age people can receive.


How will I be paid Working Tax Credit?

Working Tax Credit will be paid directly into your Bank, Building Society or Post Office account or by Simple Payment if you are unable to open or manage one of these or a similar account.

Working Tax Credit is usually paid every four weeks but you can choose to have it paid weekly by asking HMRC to change your payments.

Working Tax Credit and other benefits

Working Tax Credit counts as income when working out your entitlement to most other means-tested benefits.

 

Reviewed: August 2017

4. How do I claim Working Tax Credit?

If you are making a new claim for Tax Credits, get a claim form by phoning HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Tax Credits Helpline or order a form online.

If you are already claiming Tax Credits and you need to change your claim (for example you already get Child Tax Credit and want to claim Working Tax Credit or vice versa), call HMRC on the Tax Credits Helpline or manage your Tax Credits online using the "Manage your Tax Credits online" section of the gov.uk website. You should also contact HMRC if you need to tell them of a change of circumstance.  You can report most changes through the Tax Credits online service.

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

What documents will I need to claim Working Tax Credit?

You will need:

  • your national insurance number
  • proof of who you are, for example a birth certificate or driving licence.
  • proof of your annual income for the previous tax year, for example bank statements or pay slips
  • your partner's details if they live with you.(including income details for the previous tax year)

When will my Working Tax Credit claim begin?

Your Working Tax Credit claim usually starts on the day that your completed form is received by HMRC. It is important to get your claim made quickly so you don't lose out. 

You may be able to get Working Tax Credit backdated for up to 31 days. Some claims are backdated automatically, but in some cases you have to request a backdate in writing. The notes that you get with the claim form will tell you if you need to include a letter with your claim form.

Change of circumstances

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

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

HM Revenue and Customs also have a digital service for tax credits customers that allows people to check their next tax credits payment details online and to report most changes of circumstances. The service can be accessed at www.gov.uk/managetaxcredits.
 

Reviewed: August 2017
 

5. How do I challenge a Working Tax Credit decision?

If you believe the decision about the amount of your tax credit award is wrong, for example due to incorrect information being used, you can usually ask for it to be looked at again known as a 'mandatory reconsideration'. If you still disagree with the further decision you can then appeal to an independent tribunal.

The time limits are strict, you will usually be given 30 days to challenge a decision, so it is important to seek advice and act quickly.

Further information on Challenges and complaints

 

Reviewed: August 2017