Children's Tax Credit for 2002-03 - are you entitled to a repayment?

There are an increasing number of messages being posted on the Internet to suggest that a large percentage of people may not have claimed their entitlement to Children's Tax Credit in 2002-03 (the tax year that ended on 5 April 2003). The deadline for making a claim is 31 January 2009.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) wishes to ensure that all people who are entitled to the relief receive it but have to make it clear that the majority of people will already have received Children's Tax Credit at the time it was first introduced.

You may be eligible to claim the relief for 2002-03 if the following conditions apply:

  • you had a child born between 6 April 1986 and 5 April 2003
  • the child lived with you for all or part of 2002-03
  • you worked and paid tax for all or part of 2002-03

If you still hold any payslips or a P60 from 2002-03 you can generally tell if you have been given Children's Tax Credit relief as your code will end in either an 'H' or 'T' and if no other reliefs or allowances are claimed your 2002-03 tax code was usually 702H.

Self-employed taxpayers can review their final calculations of 2002-03 liability to check if Children's Tax Credit has been granted.

If you are unsure about whether you have received the 2002-03 Children's Tax Credit HMRC will check the position for you for free and where appropriate send you a repayment for the full amount. Please complete the form 11CTC before 31 January 2009 and send it to your tax office.

Please do not telephone HMRC as this may cause an additional delay to your claim.

Finally, please be aware that if you decide to use the services of a Tax Agent you will normally have to pay them a fee which could be a significant percentage of any repayment you may be due.

Background information

Children's Tax Credit was an Income Tax relief introduced from 6 April 2001 to provide more help for people who had a child or children aged under 16 living with them. Children's Tax Credit was available for two years 2001-02 and 2002-03. It was then replaced by the Child element of the new payable Tax Credits from 6 April 2003.

Children's Tax Credit was well publicised prior to its commencement and all existing recipients of Married Couple's Allowance, Additional Personal Allowance and Widow's Bereavement Allowance received mail shots about the alternative relief. HMRC (we were then the Inland Revenue) also ran extensive press and TV advertising and for new claimants the new mothers' Bounty Pack had claim forms included.

Children's Tax Credit reduced the amount of income tax you paid. The maximum relief for 2002-03 was £5290 at 10% or £10490 at 10% if a child was born during the 2002-03 tax year. This gave a tax saving of £529.00 or £1049.00. Children's Tax Credit was claimed by the person within a couple (married or unmarried) who had the highest income. Single parents could also claim. It was tapered away at the rate of £2 of Children's Tax Credit for £3 of income that exceeded the basic rate income tax threshold (£29,900). So the higher your income the less Children's Tax Credit became due.