Tax credits: changes you need to report and when

It's very important to report changes in your circumstances that could affect your tax credits. If you don't, you could get too much in tax credits (an overpayment) or not get everything you're entitled to. You can report changes by calling the Tax Credit Helpline or in writing, but not online.

On this page:

How to report changes

You can report changes by calling the Tax Credit Helpline, or writing to the Tax Credit Office.

You can't report most changes until they actually happen. The sections below tell you when to report each type of change.

Contact details for the Tax Credit Helpline and Office

You can't email, or report changes online for tax credits. The only exception to this is if you change address, and you're also getting Child Benefit.

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Address changes

Tell the Tax Credit Office as quickly as possible after you change your address or phone number.

You must wait until you actually move - you can't report your new address before you move.

Address changes - if you also get Child Benefit

If you also get Child Benefit, you can use an online form to report your new address or phone number. Only use the form if you also get Child Benefit.

The details will be used to update both your Child Benefit and tax credits records. So unless you have any other changes to report, you won't need to contact the Tax Credit Office as well.

If you have other changes to report, you'll still need to contact the Tax Credit Office to tell them about these.

If you don't get Child Benefit, don’t use the online form - you'll need to contact the Tax Credit Office.

Tell the Child Benefit Office online that you've changed address or phone number

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Bank details changes

Tell the Tax Credit Office as quickly as possible if you get a different bank or building society account.

You can give the new account details up to 30 days before you start using the new account.

If you change your account details more than twice in a year

If you've already changed your account details twice in the last 12 months, you won't be able to change them again over the phone. The Tax Credit Office will ask you to put your request in writing.

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Starting and stopping work - or changing jobs

Starting work

Tell the Tax Credit Office if you or your partner start working - as employed or self-employed. It doesn't matter how many hours you're working, you still need to report it.

Get in touch no later than one month after the job starts.

Tell the Tax Credit Office your new employer's full pay office address and PAYE tax reference when you get in touch. Their PAYE reference should be on your latest payslip, or ask your employer if you're not sure.

Stopping work

Tell the Tax Credit Office if you or your partner:

  • stop working altogether - whether you were employed or self-employed
  • are no longer working, and you expect it to be four weeks or more before you start another job
  • are laid off for more than four weeks - or until further notice

Get in touch as soon as possible once any of these changes happen, and within one month.

You're laid off from work - is your Working Tax Credit affected?

Changing jobs

If you or your partner change jobs, tell the Tax Credit Office.

If the gap between the jobs will be four weeks or more, you must report the new job within one month of it starting.

If the gap is less than four weeks, get in touch as soon as you can after the new job starts. It's best to do this within a month. This is because if the change increases your payments, the higher amount can only be backdated by up to one month.

Tell the Tax Credit Office your new employer's full pay office address and PAYE tax reference when you get in touch. Their PAYE reference should be on your latest payslip, or ask your employer if you're not sure.

Temporary gaps in work - how they can affect Working Tax Credit

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Working hours changes

Tell the Tax Credit Office if your hours of paid work fall below the minimum for Working Tax Credit.

The minimum hours depend on your circumstances, but normally you need to work at least:

  • 30 hours a week if you don’t have children
  • 16 hours a week if you have a disability, or are aged 60 or over
  • 16 hours a week if you're single with children
  • at least 24 hours a week jointly, if you're in a couple with children - with one of you working at least 16 hours a week

Report the change as soon as possible once it happens, and within one month.

You also need to tell the Tax Credit Office within one month if either of the following happens:

  • you or your partner were working at least 30 hours a week, and your hours have dropped to less than 30 hours a week
  • you're in a couple with children, and your joint working hours drop to less than 30 a week

Changes to your working hours and tax credits

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If you're off work, or there's a gap in your work

Sick leave

Tell the Tax Credit Office if you or your partner don't go back to work after the first 28 weeks of being off sick. You need to get in touch within one month after the 28 weeks ends.

Working Tax Credit when you can't work due to illness

Maternity and adoption leave

Tell the Tax Credit Office if you or your partner don't go back to work after the first 39 weeks of maternity or adoption leave. You need to get in touch within a month after the 39 weeks ends.

Maternity, paternity and adoption leave and tax credits

Paternity leave

Let the Tax Credit Office know if you don't go back to work after your two weeks of ordinary paternity leave. Get in touch within a month after the two weeks ends.

You might go onto additional paternity leave because your partner has gone back to work. You don't need to report this if it's during the period that:

  • starts from the 20th week after your child was born or placed for adoption
  • ends when your partner's 39 weeks of maternity or adoption leave would have ended - if they'd taken the full 39 weeks

But you must tell the Tax Credit office within a month if you take any additional leave outside this period.

Maternity, paternity and adoption leave and tax credits

Strikes

Tell the Tax Credit Office if you or your partner have been on strike for more than ten working days in a row.

Get in touch within a month after you've been on strike for more than ten days.

Being suspended from work

Tell the Tax Credit Office if you or your partner don't return to work after being suspended.

Get in touch within a month after finding out you won't be returning to work.

Temporary gaps in work - how they can affect Working Tax Credit

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Income changes

You might expect your income (joint income for couples) for the current tax year to be more or less than last year's income. A tax year runs from 6 April one year to 5 April the next.

You might start getting a pension, for example, which increases your income. Or you might lose your job, meaning your income goes down.

When you know your income is changing, tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as possible. Get in touch as soon as you can. If the change means your tax credits go down, you could be building up an overpayment which you may have to pay back.

Find out more about changes in income and tax credits

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Getting married, civil partnerships, living with someone - or no longer with a partner

Tell the Tax Credit Office about changes in your relationship as soon as possible after they happen - and within one month. For example, if you're getting tax credits as a single person, but start living with someone as if you’re married or in a civil partnership.

If you're claiming as a single person when you should be claiming as a couple, you could be getting too much in tax credits. Likewise, if you separate, tell the Tax Credit Office - if you don't, you might not get everything you're due.

You also need to tell the Tax Credit Office - within one month - if your partner dies.

Follow the link below for more detailed information about the relationship changes you need to report.

Tax credits when your partner leaves or a new partner moves in

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Family changes

Changes involving all children – from new baby up to the age of 20

Within one month after it happens, tell the Tax Credit Office if your child:

  • leaves home to live with someone else
  • is taken into care
  • is placed with a family for fostering or adoption
  • has received a custodial sentence of four months or more
  • dies

Tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as you can after:

  • you have a baby
  • a child or young person joins your family, perhaps because you foster or adopt

If you have a baby, or a child joins your family, your tax credits could increase. You could lose out if you don't get in touch within a month, as any increase can only be backdated by up to one month.

New baby - what tax credits are you entitled to?

If your child has a disability

Tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as you can after any of the following stop being paid for your child:

  • Disability Living Allowance (or the Highest Rate Care Component)
  • Personal Independence Payment (or the Enhanced Daily Living Component)

Get in touch as soon as you can, as you could be building up an overpayment which you may have to pay back. But you don't need to get in touch if the payment or allowance has only stopped while your child is in hospital.

Also tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as you can if your child is no longer registered as blind.

Children with disabilities - can you get extra Child Tax Credit?

Once your child reaches 16

Tell the Tax Credit Office if your child is staying on in education or training that counts for Child Tax Credit after age 16. For example, they might be going to college to do A levels, or starting a training course like Access to Apprenticeships.

Tell the Tax Credit Office again if your child is staying on after age 18, and also after age 19.

You can get in touch up to three months before you know your child will start or carry on with their course. It's best to get in touch no later than a month afterwards - you could lose out if you delay.

It's important to keep the Tax Credit Office up to date with other changes that happen after your child reaches 16. For example, if they leave education or training or start to get benefits in their own right.

To find out more about the changes you should report, and what education or training counts for Child Tax Credit, follow the link below.

Your child reaches 16 - can you still get Child Tax Credit?

You or a member of your family is taken into custody

Within one month, tell the Tax Credit Office if the person who has gone into custody:

  • was working and has left their job
  • was a lone parent and is no longer responsible for any children - for example because they have gone to live with someone else or have been taken into care

If none of these apply, you still need to tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as possible if you or your partner:

  • receive a custodial sentence
  • have been remanded in custody awaiting trial or sentence

It's best to do this within a month. This is because if the change increases your payments, the higher amount can only be backdated by up to one month.

Tax credits if you or a member of the family goes into custody

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Childcare changes

Your childcare costs change - or you start paying for childcare

Some changes might mean the help you get for your childcare stops or goes down. Tell the Tax Credit Office about these changes within a month, or you could get paid too much in tax credits. Examples are:

  • you stop paying for childcare
  • your average childcare costs go down by £10 a week or more - and if you pay the same amount every week the change will last for at least four weeks in a row
  • you start getting help with your childcare costs from elsewhere - for example childcare vouchers

Tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as possible if:

  • you start paying a registered or approved childcare provider to look after your child
  • you are already getting help with your childcare costs and your costs go up by £10 a week or more on average - and if you pay the same amount every week the change will last for at least four weeks in a row

It's best to do this within a month. This is because if the change increases your payments, the increase can only be backdated by up to one month.

Follow the first link below for more detailed information about the childcare changes you should report and how these can affect your tax credits.

Childcare changes - effect on Working Tax Credit

Help with childcare costs - do you qualify for extra tax credits?

Changes involving your childcare provider

Tell the Tax Credit Office about changes involving your childcare provider as soon as possible after they happen - and within one month. For example, if your childcare provider loses their registration or approval, or you start using a different provider.

Childcare changes - effect on Working Tax Credit

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Changes in your disability

You or your partner might get extra payments of tax credits because of your disability.

Tell the Tax Credit Office if you no longer qualify for these extra payments. For example, if your qualifying sickness or disability-related benefit stops.

Get in touch as soon as you can, as you could be building up an overpayment which you may have to pay back.

Find out how you qualify for extra Working Tax Credit if you have a disability

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Leaving the UK - or losing the 'right to reside' in the UK

Within one month tell the Tax Credit Office if you or your partner:

  • leave the UK for good
  • leave the UK for any period and you expect to be away for more than 52 weeks at the point you leave
  • go abroad for a short stay of more than eight weeks - or for more than 12 weeks if you or a family member is being treated for an illness, or if someone in your family (or your partner's family) has died
  • lose the right to reside in the UK

Can you claim tax credits if you live outside the UK?

Going abroad temporarily and claiming tax credits

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Why it's so important to report changes quickly

Not telling the Tax Credit Office about changes is one of the main reasons that overpayments happen.

If you don't tell the Tax Credit Office straight away when a change happens, you could:

  • be overpaid from the date of the change - which you may have to pay back
  • have to pay a penalty of up to £300 if you've been overpaid
  • lose out if the change meant you were entitled to more money - increases can usually only be backdated by up to one month

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More useful links

You haven't reported a change - what happens to your tax credits

Tax credit penalties

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