When can you expect your first tax credits payment?

How quickly you'll receive a payment depends on whether a decision can be made based on your claim form or not. If you have not given the Tax Credit Office all the information they need they may have to contact you and this can cause delays.

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What happens once your claim is processed?

When your claim has been dealt with, you'll get either a letter explaining why you do not qualify for tax credits, or an award notice.

The award notice tells you:

  • that you qualify for tax credits
  • if you'll get Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit or both
  • how much money you'll receive
  • what information the Tax Credit Office has used to work out your award
  • when and how to contact the Tax Credit Office if your circumstances change

Make sure you keep your tax credits award notice in a safe place.

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How long will you have to wait?

The Tax Credit Office aims to deal with your claim within three weeks of receiving it, but it can take up to five weeks to get your decision.

If you qualify for tax credits, your award notice will tell you the date of your first payment and when you'll get further payments.

You may get your first payment before you get your award notice. You must check your award notice once you get it, and tell the Tax Credit Office straight away if anything is wrong, missing or incomplete. You can do this by calling the Tax Credit Helpline.

If you make any mistakes or leave gaps on your claim form, the Tax Credit Office may have to contact you or make further enquiries. This can cause delays and may mean you wait longer for your first payment.

Contact details for the Tax Credit Helpline

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Changes to your claim

If after you have sent in your claim form you need to make a change you should tell the Tax Credit Office immediately. For example you might realise you've made a mistake, forgotten to report something or your circumstances change. If they can, the Tax Credit Office will treat the information you give as part of your original claim.

You can contact the Tax Credit Office by calling the Tax Credit Helpline.

Contact details for the Tax Credit Helpline

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More useful links

How to avoid common mistakes on your tax credits claim form

Putting mistakes right once you've sent in your tax credits claim

How Child Benefit, tax credits and Guardian's Allowance are paid

Checking your tax credits award notice

Tax credits: changes you need to report and when

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