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If you realise you've made a mistake on your claim form you must put it right as quickly as possible. If you don't you could get either too much tax credits - which you'll usually have to pay back - or you won’t be paid enough.
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Tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as possible if you've made a mistake on your claim form. Give them the correct information so they can pay you the right amount of money.
If possible, phone rather than write - it's quicker.
What happens next depends on when you spotted the mistake. You might have spotted it while you were still waiting to hear about your claim. Or you might have noticed it after you started getting tax credit payments.
If the Tax Credit Office hasn't yet worked out how much you'll get they'll take the new information into account. They'll use it to decide whether you can get any tax credits and if so how much.
When you get your tax credits award notice it will tell you what you're entitled to, based on the new information you've given.
Rose has three children. She filled in a claim form, but forgot to include one of her children on the form.
A week later she realised her mistake and called the Tax Credit Office to tell them. Because they hadn't yet worked out how much tax credits Rose could get, they were able to take her third child into account.
So Rose got the right amount of tax credits for her three children from the date when she first made her claim.
You may get more tax credits because of the new information you give. If so, the extra payments can only be backdated for up to one month, usually from the date you told the Tax Credit Office about the change. So it's important to tell the Tax Credit Office as soon as possible to avoid missing out on extra money.
If you should be getting less tax credits because of the new information you give, the Tax Credit Office will go right back to the date when you claimed. They'll look at what you've been paid since that date and compare it with what you should have had. If you've been paid too much you'll have to pay the extra back.
The Tax Credit Office looks into some awards to make sure they're right. If you tell them about your mistake before they look into your award then you may not have to pay a penalty. But this can depend on whether you took 'reasonable care' when you filled in your claim form.
You need to have taken reasonable care when you completed your claim form. This means you:
Reasonable care can be different for different people. To help you decide if you took reasonable care you could think about:
Nihal claimed tax credits for his son, Parveen. But his ex-wife Lila had already made a claim for Parveen. The Tax Credit Office investigated Nihal's claim because it was the second claim for the same child.
The investigation found that Nihal and Lila share responsibility for Parveen. He spends half his time at his mother's home and half at his father's. But Nihal didn't know that Lila had already claimed.
They decided that Lila was Parveen's main carer, so only she could claim tax credits for him. But even though Nihal couldn't get tax credits for Parveen, it wasn't unreasonable for him to think that he could. He took reasonable care when he made his claim.
When Liam filled in his claim form, he wrote down his income from his job as £6,850. But he accidentally wrote the numbers the wrong way around - it should have been £8,650.
Liam just made a mistake and wasn't trying to get more tax credits than he should. But he should have checked his form properly before he sent it. By making a mistake and then not checking properly he was careless. He didn't take reasonable care when he claimed.
If you deliberately put wrong information on your claim form then you may: