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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Checking your tax credits award notice

If you qualify for tax credits, you'll get an award notice telling you how much you'll get - based on the information you've given. You need to check it carefully, and tell the Tax Credit Office within one month if anything is wrong, missing or incomplete.

What is an award notice?

The award notice is in three parts:

  • part 1 is about you
  • part 2 tells you how the Tax Credit Office worked out your tax credits
  • part 3 is what the Tax Credit Office will pay you

It tells you:

  • if you'll get Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or both
  • how much you will get
  • what you told the Tax Credit Office, and how they have used this to work out what to pay you
  • what changes you need to tell the Tax Credit Office about, and when you need to tell them
  • how and when the Tax Credit Office will pay your tax credits

You will get a checklist with your award notice that tells you what information you have to check and how to report any changes.

You should keep the award notice in a safe place. You can't get a copy of your award notice online. If you've lost your award notice, you can only get a copy by calling the Tax Credit Helpline.

What to do when you get an award notice

It is the Tax Credit Office's responsibility to put the right information on your award notice based on information you give them.

Check your notice - and report anything that's wrong

It is important that you:

  • check your award notice when you get one
  • tell the Tax Credit Office if anything is wrong, missing or incomplete, or if there's anything you don't understand - use the checklist that came with it to help you with this

If there’s anything you don’t understand, or anything wrong, missing or incomplete, tell the Tax Credit Office. You should do this within one month of getting your award notice.

Don’t delay if anything is wrong. You may not be getting all the money you're entitled to, or you could be building up an overpayment that you have to pay back.

If there's a mistake on your award notice, tell the Tax Credit Office straight away. They will put it right and send you a new one. In this case you may not have to pay back any overpayment.

You can contact the Tax Credit Office by calling the Tax Credit Helpline.

If you have a 16-year-old child staying on at school or college or doing training

You may have got an award notice because you have recently renewed your tax credits. If your child is 16 (or nearly 16) it will show your Child Tax Credit stopping for them on 31 August.

If your child is staying on at school or college, or starting a training course, your Child Tax Credit for them will carry on. You'll get another award notice after 1 September showing this. But you must have told the Tax Credit Office that your child is staying on, and the education or training must count for tax credits.

Once your child is 16 or over, only certain types of education or training count for tax credits. For example an advanced course at higher education level - such as a degree - doesn't count. You should check whether your child's education or training can help you qualify for tax credits by following the link below. 

Remember to tell the Tax Credit Office straight away about any changes to your child's education or training. You can do this by calling the Tax Credit Helpline.

If you realise you made a mistake on your claim form

If when you check your award notice, you realise you made a mistake on your tax credits claim form, call the Tax Credit Helpline straightaway. The new information you give might mean you get more tax credits - or less.

When will you receive an award notice?

Your first award notice

When the Tax Credit Office has dealt with your claim, they'll send you an award notice if you qualify for tax credits.

Amended award notice

When you report a change in your circumstances, or when there are any other changes, you’ll get an amended tax credits award notice.

The Tax Credit Office aims to send you an amended award notice within 30 days of you telling them about a change.

If you don't receive an amended award notice within 30 days, call the Tax Credit Helpline as soon as possible.

Final award notice

After the end of the year you need to renew your tax credits claim. This helps the Tax Credit Office to check that the payments they've made to you are correct based on your actual circumstances.

When you have renewed your claim, you’ll get an award notice, with a final decision for the year that ended on 5 April. Although the decision is final, you still need to check the award notice carefully and tell them if anything is missing, wrong or incomplete.

You'll also be sent a separate award notice, telling you what your payments will be for the coming tax year.

You may not need to renew your tax credits claim, for example because you just get the family element of Child Tax Credit. If this applies to you, you’ll get your final decision for the year that ended on 5 April with your renewal pack. You won’t get any further award notices - unless your circumstances change.

Checking your tax credits payments

It is also important to check the amount of money going into your bank account. Part 3 of your award notice - Payment dates and amounts - shows your first payment.

It also shows the amount to be paid every week or every four weeks. If a payment doesn't match the amount on your award notice call the Tax Credit Helpline as soon as possible.

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