UPDATED: Due to industrial action that took place prior to the tax credit renewal cut off point, HMRC have extended the claim renewal deadline from July 31st to August 6th, giving anyone who has yet to renew extra time to do so. This extension applies to all methods of renewal, such as online and by post.
So if you’re still to renew your tax credit claims, you’ve got until August 6th, otherwise you may risk losing your entitlement.
Early bird catches the worm
You don’t have to wait until this deadline to renew your tax credits. You can do it right now – providing you have received your renewal pack. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) says that claimants should have received their packs through the post by June 30th – but if you haven’t, call the Tax Credit Helpline now on 0345 300 3900.
Once you have your pack, you’ll find all of the instructions you need for renewing your tax credits by phone, post or online. Remember, if you don’t renew by the deadline, your past payments may be miscalculated, and your future payments could be stopped.
The one exception
If you didn’t claim tax credits until after April 6th 2014, you may not need to make a renewal this time. If this is the case and you haven’t received a pack, it probably won’t be sent to you until next year.
How to do it
As I mentioned, all of the information you need for renewing your tax credits should be contained within your renewal pack so you can follow the instructions to complete the process online, over the phone or by post. Depending on the details contained in your specific pack, you may just need to check that all of the information in it is correct, or you might have to sign something and return it or discuss something with a member of HMRC, so follow the instructions carefully.
You should get a Review Notice, which you must read through carefully to check everything in it is correct. If it’s not, you will need to make a note of what’s changed and return it, or phone the Tax Credit Helpline. This document includes details of any change in circumstances you’ve been through in the last year, such as getting a pay rise or pay cut, having another child or splitting from your partner. Information like this could affect your claim.
If you are sent a Declaration Form as well as a Review Notice, you must fill this out and return it. Simply note on the Declaration Form any details that are not correct on the Review Notice, sign it and return it, or alternatively you can call the Tax Credit Helpline to complete the process – but remember, the closer you get to deadline day, the busier the phone line will be.
When you’re filling out these forms or speaking to someone at HMRC, make sure you have information on yours and your partner’s combined total income for the last year. This includes your wages before tax and National Insurance are subtracted, any benefits you receive, any money you get from a pension and any interest you make on your savings.
Finally, you’ll need your National Insurance number and the 15-digit number on the bottom of your annual declaration if you’re renewing online, or your Tax Credit Helpline password if you’re renewing over the phone.
You should receive an Award Notice within eight weeks of the date your renewal is received that lets you know how much you’ll get.
What if I don’t renew?
As I mentioned earlier, if you don’t renew your tax credits by the July 31st deadline, the consequences could be serious. In perhaps the worst-case scenario, your claim could be terminated altogether. This means you may not receive any credits for the next year.
On top of that, because the new tax year started in April, you may have been receiving provisional payments for 2014/15 since then. If you haven’t renewed, HMRC may class these credits as overpayments and request you repay all of the credits you have received in the last three months.
There may be some leeway if you renew your claim within 30 days of the date on the Statement of Account you receive, which tells you your payments are stopping, or if you’re able to prove you had a good reason for not renewing by the deadline. But to avoid this hassle and uncertainty it really makes sense to renew by July 31st.