Child Tax Credit

This factsheet explains whether you or your spouse/partner are entitled to the Child Tax Credit and the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit.

Claims for the Working Tax Credit other than the childcare element are not covered in detail here. It is aimed at low income workers. The amount of Child Tax Credit may be dependent on the potential benefits payable under the Working Tax Credit, you may need to look at the benefits under the Working Tax Credit system. The rates of Working Tax Credits are shown as an appendix to this factsheet. The credit and the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit are paid direct to the main carer, usually the mother.

 Claiming Child Tax Credit

Who makes the claim?


Couples must make a joint tax credits application. If you are part of a couple, you cannot decide to apply as a single person. A couple is:


  • a man or a woman who are married and living together, or
  • a man and a woman living together as if they are married, or
  • a same sex couple who have entered into a civil partnership, or
  • a same sex couple who live together as if in a civil partnership.


The income of couples must be added together for the threshold tests below.


Qualifying child


Child Tax Credit is for people who are legally responsible for at least one child or qualifying young person. (See appendix.)


The Childcare Element of the Working Tax Credit


Who makes the claim?


To apply for the childcare element, lone parents must work 16 hours or more per week. Couples can apply if:


  • both work 16 hours or more per week; or
  • one of you works 16 hours or more per week and the other receives a disability benefit or an invalid carriage because he or she has a disability.


Qualifying child


The child or children you are claiming for must be under the qualifying age. (See appendix.)


What type of childcare?


Payments must be made to a ‘childcare provider’. (See appendix.)


How Much are These Credits Worth?


This depends on your circumstances.


The basic ‘family’ element of the Child Tax Credit is £545 p.a. The Child Tax Credit rises to £1,090 for the first 12 months after a child is born (the baby addition). But you may receive less than this if your family income is above £50,000 (see income tests below).


And you may receive more than this if your family income is somewhat less than £50,000 due to other elements of the Child Tax Credit and/or if you pay qualifying childcare costs.


Income tests – for basic ‘family’ element


The basic ‘family’ element of the Child Tax Credit is payable until income exceeds a threshold of £50,000 p.a.


Amounts and Income Tests - For Full Child Tax Credit


To compute the full potential Child Tax Credit the following credits are added to the Working Tax Credit but then may be reduced by the level of your family income:





Child element per child                                                   2,300

Disabled child                                                                2,715

Severely disabled                                                           1,095

Family (one only)                                                           545

Baby addition (one only)                                                 545


Childcare costs are added to the above rates at a rate of 80% of eligible costs to maximum eligible costs of £175 per week (£300 if two or more children).


The annual joint income threshold for the Child Tax Credit is currently £16,190 with a reduction of 39% above the threshold.




Alfie and Zoe work full time and have a new baby. Alfie has self employment income of £6,000 p.a. and Zoe is employed with income of £14,000 p.a.


Their entitlement to Working Tax Credit/ Child Tax Credit in 2010/11 is:



Basic (Family element)                                       545.00

Family element for babies under the age of one    545.00

Child element                                                    2,300.00



Workings (child element)

£20,000.00 less £16,190.00 = £3,810.00

£3,810 x 39% = £1,485.90


Child element £2,300 less £1,485.90 = £814.10 (child element - entitlement for the year)


Workings (Family element) £545.00 + £545.00 = £1,090


Total tax credit payment

Child element                £814.10

Family element             £1,090.00

                                    £1,904.10 Total entitled tax credit entitlement in the year.



Which Year’s Income?


The initial claim to Child Tax Credit for 2010/11 is based on income for the tax year 2009/10. So, for example it includes the taxable business profits or employment income as stated in your tax return for that year. Other income is also included to the extent that it exceeds £300.


Personal Pension Plan contributions and Gift Aid payments (gross amounts) are deductible.


There are other special rules but adding together your ‘family’ income on this basis will give you an idea as to whether it is worthwhile making a claim.


The amount of tax credit that you are entitled to can change if your income in the year to 5 April 2011 is significantly different from your income in the year to 5 April 2010. If the income for the later year is more than £25,000 higher than income in the initial claim, then you may end up with less tax credit and have to make a repayment of the amount you were overpaid to HMRC.


Renewals Process


There will be two methods used by HMRC for the renewals process:


Annual review

This type of review will occur where the claimant is only entitled to the family element.


The claimants will receive an annual review and will automatically continue to receive the benefits of the family rate. Care will have to be taken to ensure the claimant is still entitled to the tax credit. In some circumstances the claimants may be required to submit details of their actual income for the year.


Annual declaration review


This type of review will occur where the claimant is entitled to an amount in addition to the family element of child tax credit, or has expected income in excess of £50,000.

The claimant will have to make an annual declaration to HMRC detailing their actual income position.


Protective Claims


As previously stated, the initial claim to credit for a given year is based on income of the previous year - eg. the initial claim for 2010/11 is based on income of 2009/10. However, the final credit to which a family is entitled is based on the actual income for 2010/11. Of course, you do not yet know your actual income for the year to 5 April 2011. You are unlikely to know your actual income for a given tax year until the end of the year. However, it may be best to make a claim sooner rather than later due to restrictions on backdating late claims.


A claim can only be backdated by three months. This means that a claim made on 6 August can only be backdated to 6 May.


Protective claims are likely to be of most interest to people with children whose income levels are variable perhaps because they are self employed or because there is the threat of redundancy.



How Do I Claim?


If you need more help you can call the Tax Credit Helpline on 0845 300 3900, or textphone 0845 300 3909 if you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment (open from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day) and ask for a claim pack.


How We Can Help You


As the claim has to be made jointly by you and your spouse/partner, we can only make claims on your behalf if each of you has previously signed a form (64-8) authorising us to act. If we do not currently act for your spouse/partner we will need a form to be signed. Please contact us if you want us to act for your spouse/partner and we will send you the appropriate form.

If you do not wish us to formally act we are still available to provide any advice you need.


Appendix:Working Tax Credit rates




Basic                                                                            1,920

Couple / lone parent addition                                           1,890

Working 30+ hours per week add                                    790

Disabled worker                                                             2,570

Severe disability                                                 1,095

Aged 50+ working 16-29 hours                                        1,320

Aged 50+ working 30+ hours                                           1,965

Qualifying child for Child Tax Credit


Child Tax Credit is for people who are legally responsible for at least one child or qualifying young person.


  • A child is a person aged under 16 or until the 1st September after that child’s 16th birthday.
  • A young person is a person aged 16, 17 or 18 who is in full time education, normally studying at school or college for at least 12 hours a week for a qualification, at or below NVQ Level 3, A Level or Scottish Highers.


Qualifying child for childcare element of the Working Tax Credit


The child or children you are claiming for must be under the qualifying age. For the childcare element that age is from birth up to 1st September following the child's 15th birthday. If:


  • the child is registered blind or
  • the child has been taken off the blind register within the last 28 weeks or
  • you receive Disability Living Allowance on behalf of that child,

the qualifying age is from birth up to 1st September that follows the child's 16th birthday.

Childcare provider


You can apply for the costs of childcare arrangements if the childcare provider is:


  • a registered childminder, nursery or playscheme or
  • an out of hours club on school premises run by the school or Local Authority or
  • a childcare scheme run on Government property or
  • a childcare scheme run by an approved provider. For example, an out of school hours scheme. Your scheme will be able to tell you whether they are approved.


You cannot apply for the costs of any childcare arrangement that does not fit into one of the above categories. The childcare provider must have a registration number which is provided by the Local Authority when they are approved.




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© KM Business Services 2013. All rights reserved. The document provides only an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication, and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Never rely exclusively on our standard answers and general content and always do your own specific research.  Always have the entire facts and all documents to hand before making any decision.

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