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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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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. You'll also get information about your rights of appeal.
The award notice tells you:
Make sure you keep your tax credits award notice in a safe place.
The Tax Credit Office aims to get back to you about your claim within three weeks of receiving it.
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.
If you haven't heard anything within three weeks, and can't meet essential living expenses like rent, gas or electricity bills, contact the Tax Credit Helpline. They will be able to tell you what the latest is on your claim and whether there is any information they are still waiting for.
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.