Working tax credits: A guide
Filed under: Tax
Here, we explain who qualifies for working tax credits and why it is vital to renew your claim by July 31.
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Can I claim working tax credits?
If you work and are on a low income, you may well qualify for working tax credits - even if you are self-employed.
The amount you receive is based on the hours of work for which you are paid. If you are responsible for at least one child or young person, you can often get child tax credits too.
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How much will I receive?
Your working tax credit entitlement depends on your income. Basically speaking, this means that the lower your income, the more tax credits you can get.
You should, for example, qualify if you are single without children and earn less than £13,000 or if you and your partner have two children and earn less than £32,200.
Income is not the only deciding factor, though. The number of children you have and the amount you pay for childcare can also have an impact.
If you do qualify, payments will be made directly into your bank account either weekly or every four weeks.
How do I apply?
If you are married, in a civil partnership or living with a partner, you will usually need to make a joint claim for working tax credits.
Otherwise, you can make a claim as a single person. Either way, the easiest way to get your claim underway is probably to call the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900.
Remember that if you are making a new claim, your payments will usually run from the date of your claim to the end of the tax year.
Consequently, if you make a claim this month, for example, your payments will be worked out from that date until April 5, 2013.
What else do I need to know?
Each year during April, May or June, the Tax Credit Office will also write to you asking you to check your personal information and confirm the income you received during the last tax year.
This is known as 'renewing' your tax credits claim and must be done by July 31 to allow the Tax Credit Office to set your payments for the year ahead.
As changes such as starting a new job or splitting up with a partner can make a big difference to the working tax credits you receive, it is also important to inform the government – either by calling the Tax Credit Helpline or by writing to the Tax Credit Office, Preston, PR1 4AT – about such changes as quickly as possible.
Otherwise, you could end up missing out on tax credit payments, or receiving money that you will have to pay back to the government at a later date.