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When your tax credits claim can be backdated

The Tax Credit Office can normally pay tax credits for up to one month from when they get your claim form. This is known as backdating your claim. Sometimes your claim can be backdated for more than one month. For example if you're claiming extra tax credits because you're disabled, or you're an asylum-seeker.

On this page:

When your claim is backdated automatically

The Tax Credit Office can usually only backdate your claim for a period of up to one month from the date they get your form. So it's important to fill in your claim form and send it back to them as soon as you think you qualify. You could lose money if you wait.

In certain circumstances, backdating happens automatically when the Tax Credit Office deals with your claim, using the dates you've given them on your claim form.

If you're responsible for children

If you're claiming for a new baby, the Tax Credit Office will automatically backdate your claim to their date of birth. But they must receive your claim within one month. For example, if you have a baby on 12 June but your claim's not received until 12 October, your payments will only start from 12 September.

Likewise, if you become responsible for a child, the Tax Credit Office will automatically backdate your claim to when you started looking after the child. But this is only as long as they receive your claim within one month.

If you've come off benefits

You might have stopped claiming benefits because you've started a new job, or because you now work more than 16 hours a week. If the Tax Credit Office gets your claim within one month, they may backdate your tax credits payments to the date your benefits stopped.

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If you don’t think your claim has automatically been backdated

If your claim is not backdated to an earlier date but you think it should have been, you need to contact the Tax Credit Office. You can do this by calling the Tax Credit Helpline, or you can write to them.

Contact details for the Tax Credit Helpline and Office

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When you need to ask for backdating

You'll need to ask for backdating if one of the following applies:

  • you're only claiming Working Tax Credit - and you're not claiming for any children
  • you've been getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or Pension Credit

To ask for backdating, attach a separate sheet of paper to your claim form with the following information:

  • your name, address and National Insurance Number
  • the date you started work
  • the start date of Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income -related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit if you're not in work

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When your claim can be backdated for more than one month

Your tax credits claim can be backdated for more than one month if any of the sections below apply to you.

You, or your partner, have a disability

If you’re making a new claim for Working Tax Credit, any payments you’re entitled to could be backdated for more than one month. This includes any extra tax credits for being disabled. But for this to happen both of the following need to apply:

  • you have claimed one of the sickness or disability benefits that can help you qualify for extra tax credits
  • you tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as you know that the benefit is definitely going to be paid to you - and within one month if you want them to backdate your claim as far as possible

You might already be getting Working Tax Credit. If so, tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as you find out you’re entitled to a qualifying sickness or disability benefit. Examples of qualifying sickness or disability benefits are Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment. Get in touch within one month of finding out, if you want your extra tax credits to be backdated to the earliest possible date.

You have a disability - can you get extra Working Tax Credit?

Contact details for the Tax Credit Helpline

Your child has a disability

If you're not already getting Child Tax Credit for your child, you should claim as soon as possible. This is because the Tax Credit Office can only backdate your claim for up to one month.

You may already be getting Child Tax Credit for your child but now want to claim extra tax credits because your child has a disability. If so, tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as your child is entitled to one of the following:

  • Disability Living Allowance (or the Highest Rate Care Component)
  • Personal Independence Payment (or the Enhanced Daily Living Component)
The Tax Credit Office may be able to backdate your extra tax credits to the date your child became entitled to the allowance or payment. But you'll need to get in touch no later than one month after you find out your child's entitled to the allowance or payment. Otherwise your extra tax credits may only be backdated for up to one month.

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

If you're claiming asylum in the UK

The Tax Credit Office may backdate your tax credits to the date you made your asylum claim. But they will need to receive your tax credits claim within one month of you being recorded as a refugee.

New arrivals to the UK and tax credits

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How to check if the Tax Credit Office has backdated your claim

The Tax Credit Office will send you an award notice following your first claim for tax credits. You also get one every time you report a change in circumstance. The award notice will show you which tax credits elements you are receiving and from which date you are being paid.

It is important that you check your award notice carefully when you receive it. Tell the Tax Credit Office straight away if something is wrong, missing or incomplete.

Checking your tax credits award notice

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More useful links

How to claim tax credits

How your tax credit payments are worked out

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