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How to Claim Child Tax Credits

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If you are responsible for one or more children, you could be entitled to claim Child Tax Credits benefit (CTC), which is part of the Tax Credits system in the UK.

You don’t need to be working in order to receive CTC, so it might be a vital source of income if you are between jobs. You will receive money for each child that qualifies and CTC does not affect any Child Benefit payments you receive.

CTC is gradually being replaced by a new benefit called Universal Credit. It is expected the process will not be completed until 2017.
 

How Do I Qualify?

CTC is available for each child in your care that is:

- under 16
- under 20 and enrolled in an approved education or training course. In this case, your child will need to be accepted onto the course before his 19th birthday.

Only full-time education courses are approved. For an education course to be classed as full-time, it must include over 12 hours on average of supervised study or course-related work experience a week.

However, the following courses are not approved:

- courses provided by your child’s employer
- courses that form part of a role they hold (a scout leader for example)
- an advanced course (BTEC Higher National Certificate or Diploma or a university degree)

Approved training should be unpaid. Examples (as listed on gov.uk website) include the following:

- traineeships
- some apprenticeships
- Training for Success: Professional and Technical Training
- Pathways for Success: Pathways for Young People
- Get Ready for Work (if started before 1st April 2013)
- Skillbuild+ or Skillbuild (if started before 1st August 2011)
- Employability Fund programmes (only in Scotland)
- Collaboration and Innovation Programme (only in Northern Ireland)

You may be entitled to receive CTC for 20 weeks if your child leaves education or training before his 18th birthday and registers with a local careers service or joins the Armed Forces.


How Much Will I Receive?

How much CTC you receive will ultimately depend on a number of factors such as your relationship status, your household income and the number of children you have.

The basic amount for the year 2014/2015 is £545. On top of this, there are extra payments known as ’elements’ which are calculated:

- per child: up to £2,750
- per disabled child: £3,100
- per severely disabled child: £1,255

If you are entitled to any CTC, it will be paid either weekly or every 4 weeks depending on your preference.


How Do I Claim Child Tax Credits?

In order to claim CTC, you can either fill in this online form to order a tax credit claim form or you can contact the Tax Credits Office directly.

Before contacting them, you may want to use the online tax credits calculator or quick questionnaire to work out whether you qualify for CTC and what you may be entitled to.

Once you have received your application form, you will need to fill in all the relevant details and then send the form back to the Tax Credit Office in the pre-paid envelope provided.

It normally take a few weeks for applications to be processed but, all being well, your payments will soon start appearing in your bank account.

Remember, you will need to inform the Tax Credits Office of any changes in your circumstances, and you will be required to renew your claim at the end of each financial year.

 

Photo from Public domain images

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