Reasons why your tax credits might go down or stop

There could be a number of reasons why your tax credit payments go down or stop. It may be for the simple reason that your circumstances have changed and the Tax Credit Office has changed the amount they're paying you.

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Common reasons why payments change

The most common reasons why your payments may have gone down or stopped are:

  • a child reaches 16, but you haven't told the Tax Credit Office that they're staying in full-time education or approved training
  • your award notice shows you've been overpaid
  • you've changed your bank, building society or Post Office® card account details and haven't told the Tax Credit Office
  • you've changed address and haven't told the Tax Credit Office
  • you've not provided the Tax Credit Office with any bank account details
  • you haven't renewed your tax credits claim
  • your income has gone up by more than £5,000, and so your tax credit payments have gone down

The reasons are explained in more detail below.

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A child reaches 16

If your child is now over the age of 16, your Child Tax Credit payments for them may have stopped. This could be because the Tax Credit Office didn't know your child was staying on in full-time education (or on an approved training course). It's very important to tell the Tax Credit Office about your child's plans. If you don't do anything, your payments for that child will automatically stop on 31 August after their sixteenth birthday.

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

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Your award notice shows you've been overpaid

You'll get an award notice if your tax credits payments change. This may say that your payments are going down because the Tax Credit Office has paid you too much. This could happen if you haven't told them about a change in circumstance, or your income has gone up. If your payments have stopped because you no longer qualify for tax credits, the Tax Credit Office will ask you to make a direct payment to pay back any outstanding overpayment.

You've been overpaid tax credits - how did this happen?

Repaying overpaid tax credits

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You've changed your bank account

If you've changed your bank, building society or Post Office® card account details recently and haven't told the Tax Credit Office, then your payment will have been sent to your old account. You'll need to tell the Tax Credit Office your new account details as soon as possible. This will make sure that future payments are paid to your correct account.

Find out which changes in circumstance you need to report by when

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You've changed address

If the Tax Credit Office can't contact you at the address they hold, they may stop your tax credits payments. So if you move you need to let them know your new address as soon as possible afterwards.

Find out which changes in circumstance you need to report by when

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You haven't provided bank account details when asked

If you've been getting your tax credits paid by cash cheque, your payments may stop if you haven't given the Tax Credit Office your bank, building society, or Post Office® card account details. This could happen four weeks after the date the Tax Credit Office asked you for this information.

If you don't already have an account, you must open one and provide the details to the Tax Credit Office.

More about bank accounts and how tax credits are paid

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You haven't renewed your tax credits

The Tax Credit Office will ask you to renew your tax credits after the end of each tax year. They can then make sure you have been paid the right amount of tax credits for the previous tax year. They will also check they are paying you the right amount for the current tax year.

The Tax Credit Office send you a renewal pack, which you must usually complete by 31 July. If you don't renew your tax credits, your payments will stop. You may have to pay back any payments you have received since 6 April as well as any overpayments.

Why your tax credits claim has to be renewed

What happens if you don't renew your tax credits

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Your income has gone up by more than £5,000

If your income is expected to be more than £5,000 higher than last year, you may get less tax credits.

If your income is expected to be less than £5,000 higher than last year, it will make no difference to the amount of tax credits you'll receive for the current year. However it's still a good idea to let the Tax Credit Office know about the change. The increased income will be taken into account:

  • in the following year
  • for the payments made to you after April, but before you've renewed your claim

If you don't tell them about a change in income:

  • you may not get all the money you're entitled to
  • you could be building up an overpayment that you'll have to pay back

Changes in income and tax credits

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How to keep the Tax Credit Office up to date

You can report any changes to the Tax Credit Helpline.

Contact details for the Tax Credit Helpline

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More useful links

Check if you qualify for tax credits - quick questionnaire

How your tax credits entitlement is worked out

How to avoid being paid too much or not enough tax credits

Checking your tax credits award notice

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