Times are tight and we’re all having to perform magic tricks to balance the household budget. However, you might not realise that there could be some support from HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) to help you out. It can sometimes seem like a chore to research financial support for parents. So, Dadsnet went to the source and asked a group of experts for some help.
With the deadline for renewing tax credits, which provides 1.5 million working families with targeted financial support, fast approaching, now is the time to see what help there is for parents and guardians.
Financial support from HMRC
What financial support can a parent or guardian get from HMRC?
HMRC is responsible for Child Benefit, Tax-Free Childcare, Tax Credits as well as Help to Save. Each could make a real difference to your household budget and support you and your family manage your finances today as well as saving for the future.
Details of the schemes
Most people are aware of Child Benefit. Child Benefit is worth £24 per week for the oldest or only child and £15.90 per week for each additional child. Parents or guardians can claim once you have registered your child’s birth and keep claiming up to age of 16, or 20 if the child stays in approved education or training. To check eligibility and find out more, go to the HMRC child benefit website.
Tax-Free Childcare can help working families (including those who are self-employed) save up to £2,000 a year off their childcare bills for each child up to the age of 11, or up to £4,000 per year for a disabled child up to the age of 16.
Open a Tax-Free Childcare account and, for every £8 you pay in, the government will top it up by £2. You can use these savings to pay for approved childcare, potentially making a real difference to household finances.
Last year almost 650,000 families saved with Tax-Free Childcare. Go to GOV. UK to check eligibility and apply today
Help to Save
Help to Save is a government savings scheme for low-income earners and offers a 50% bonus payment worth up to £1,200 over four years. The scheme has recently been extended until April 2025 so it is not too late to get involved and take up this support from HMRC.
Savers can deposit between £1 and £50 a month into their account and will receive a government bonus – even if they withdraw the money. Savers earn a 50 pence bonus for every £1 saved and you get the bonus payments in the second and fourth years. This means that someone saving £2,400 – the maximum amount they could deposit over 4 years – would receive a £1,200 bonus from the government, paid directly into their bank account.
Setting up a Help to Save account online takes less than 5 minutes. Find out more and how to apply for this financial support for parents on GOV.UK or via the HMRC app.
There are two types of tax credits: Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit. The average claim is worth thousands of pounds a year and can provide a real boost to your finances.
Why are we talking about tax credits now?
The renewal deadline is fast approaching. HMRC is reminding everyone who receives tax credits that they must check or renew their claim before 31 July to avoid their payments being stopped.
Who needs to renew their claim?
There are two types of renewal packs that have been sent to tax credit recipients. If your renewal pack has a red stripe across the page then you will need to check the information, renew and report any changes by 31 July. If your renewal pack has a black stripe across the page, you need to check the information is correct, and you will only need to contact HMRC if you have any changes to report.
How do you renew?
The quickest and easiest way is online – go to GOV.UK and follow the instructions. You can also renew using the HMRC app, which you can download for free on your smartphone. The app allows you to track your claim and details when you can expect payments. Renewing online or via the app means that you can do it at a time and a place that’s convenient to you.
What if my circumstances have changed?
HMRC does need to be notified of some life changes because it could affect how much you are entitled to. For example, if you move in with a new partner, get married or divorced, your child moves out, or perhaps your working hours are reduced. You can report any changes via app or website.
What help and support is available?
There’s lots of support on the website and a helpful video on YouTube. And organisations such as Citizen’s Advice also have information on their website.
What happens if I don’t renew by the deadline?
If you need to renew but fail to, you risk your payments being stopped or having to repay any overpayments.
Can I apply for tax credits?
No! Universal Credit has replaced tax credits for new customers. You can apply for Universal Credit, or for Pension Credit if you and your partner are of State Pension age or over. Find out more at the website.
Can I receive Universal Credit and tax credits?
You cannot claim tax credits and Universal Credit at the same time. Your tax credits will stop if you or your partner apply for Universal Credit.
By the end of 2024, tax credits will be replaced by Universal Credit for working age claimants. If you receive tax credits you will receive a letter telling you when to claim Universal Credit. You need to claim by the deadline shown in the letter to continue receiving financial support. Your tax credits will end even if you decide not to claim Universal Credit.
Is there anything else I need to be aware of?
Be aware of scammers! Criminals use deadlines, like the one for tax credits renewals, to trick people who might be expecting to hear from HMRC into sharing their banking or other details. If a phone call, text or email is unexpected, don’t give out private information or reply, and don’t download attachments or click on links. It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests – only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
You can forward suspicious texts claiming to be from HMRC to 60599 and emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.