finance

Major change to working tax credit which all claimants need to know – or face £300 HMRC fine


HMRC is urging working tax credit claimants to check if they need to update their working hours, which may have been affected by the pandemic.

According to the government’s latest figures, 1.9million Brits are on the benefit, but a number of those could be hit with a £300 fine if they don’t update their details in time.

You have until November 25 to check if you need to update your details

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You have until November 25 to check if you need to update your details

Working tax credits are for those who are earning a low income from work.

But if workers’ hours have been reduced as a result of coronavirus, this needs to be declared to HMRC to make sure you are receiving the correct entitlement of cash.

During the pandemic, you didn’t need to tell HMRC about any changes to your hours that were a result of coronavirus – for example, if you were working fewer hours or were furloughed.

But from November 25, you will again need to declare to the customs body that your working hours have been slashed down from normal.

A worker whose hours fell temporarily as a result of the pandemic would have been treated as though they were still working their normal hours.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s director general for customer services, said: “We introduced this measure last year to help support working families.

“It is vital that Working Tax Credit claimants who have benefitted from it update HMRC with their working hours if they have reduced, and they won’t return to their normal level before November 25. “

If your hours are already back to normal or return to normal before the cut off date, you still don’t have to do anything.

But if they change after November 25 you’ll have the usual one-month window to declare the fact in your working tax credit claim.

Otherwise you could face a £300 fine. If this continues, HMRC can increase this fine by up to £60 a day.

You should also continue to tell HMRC about any permanent changes to your circumstances within the same time frame of one month.

So if you’ve been made redundant, lost your job or your hours change permanently, you’ll need to update details too.

That way HMRC can be sure that only those who are entitled to tax credits receive them, otherwise those who are not eligible or due a lower rate of payment will have to pay them back later.

How do I report changes to HMRC?

You can report changes online on the government’s website in the same place you’ll be able to find your current working tax credit details.

You can also contact HMRC on 0345 300 3900 for questions about tax credits.

If you receive tax credits you’re not actually entitled to you will be urged to repay the money, so it’s a good idea to make sure all your details are up to date to avoid any further penalties.

You have a month to do this after the November 25 cut off, so after December 25, 2021, you might find you incur the penalty for failing to do so.

Anyone who receives tax credits must remember to renew them every year too, or miss losing out on thousands of pounds.

It’s worth keeping an eye on other upcoming changes too, as with the start of a new months big financial shake-ups are on the way.

The £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit is no more as of tomorrow, and the same goes for those claiming furlough as the scheme ends today.

If you were also claiming these benefits, you’ll need to be aware of how the cash you receive will be drawn back as October begins tomorrow.

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