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Tax credits renewals deadline 31 July 2020: don’t miss your last chance to check your award

Published on 29 July 2020

The tax credits renewals deadline is 31 July 2020 and if you need to contact HMRC either to complete your renewal or to notify them about any changes or corrections, about your income or circumstances, you must do so by close of play 31 July.

Illustration of a hand holding a sign saying tax credits renewal
(c) Shutterstock / AZVector

This year, HMRC decided to automatically renew most tax credit claims as part of a number of measures introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This means that the renewals process might look a bit different this year for some people.

⚠️ Whilst most tax credit claimants will have their claims automatically renewed this year, it is very important for all tax credit claimants to carefully check their renewals notice and paperwork.

How are claims renewed?

There are two ways for tax credit claims to be renewed:

Auto-renewal: This is where HMRC use information they already hold to calculate your final entitlement for the tax year that ended in April and to set up your new claim for the new tax year. If you don’t contact HMRC by 31 July to tell them something on the notice is wrong, missing or incomplete, HMRC will make the decision set out in your renewals paperwork and your claim for the current tax year (6 April 2020 - 5 April 2021) will be automatically made. Your initial award notice for the new tax year is also included in your renewal paperwork, although if you contact HMRC to make some changes, they will send you an updated award notice for 2020/21.

Reply-required: This is where HMRC ask you to fill in a declaration form – either on paper, over the phone or online – by 31 July. You have to confirm your 2019/20 income (you must tell HMRC if it is an estimated income figure) and check the circumstances HMRC hold about you that they have replayed in your renewal paperwork. HMRC then make a final decision about your entitlement and send you a final notice for the tax year that ended in April (2019/2020) and they set up your new claim for the next tax year (2020/2021) and send you an initial award notice. If you don’t complete your renewal by the specified date (31 July), your claim is not automatically renewed and your payments will stop and all payments made from 6 April 2020 will become overpaid and may have to be paid back.

Why do I need to contact HMRC?

If you received a reply-required tax credit renewals notice (which will have a red line across it and instructions telling you to contact HMRC by 31 July), HMRC will not automatically renew your claim. You must complete your renewal by the deadline otherwise your payments will stop, your claim will not be renewed and any tax credit payments you have received since 6 April 2020 will become overpaid and may have to be paid back to HMRC.

If you received an auto-renewal pack, you must check all the income and details HMRC hold about you carefully because they use that information to finalise your entitlement and to set up your new award. If anything is wrong, missing or incomplete you must tell HMRC by 31 July 2020 so that they have the correct information before they finalise your award.

HMRC sent out just over a million renewal packs which didn’t show the income details that they used to calculate awards but they have now also sent additional letters to all the people affected which does include this missing information and you should check both the letter and the information in the renewal pack. See our guidance if you receive one of these letters.

What if I don’t know my actual income figure yet?

Some people may not yet have their actual income figures for 2019/20, for example people who complete income tax Self Assessment where the deadline for submission is 31 January 2021. If you don’t yet have your actual income figure for 2019/20, its very important that you tell HMRC by 31 July 2020 that the income figure for your renewal – even if it correct – is an estimate. If you don’t, then HMRC will treat it as if it is your actual income figure and you may not be able to revise it once you know your actual figure.

If your award is finalised using estimated income, you must tell HMRC your actual income figure by 31 January 2021.

HMRC have introduced a new process this year to allow agents to contact them about more than one client.

How do I contact HMRC to complete my tax credit renewal?

You can contact HMRC several ways:

  • Using HMRC’s digital service via the GOV.UK website.
  • Using the HMRC App, available via your phone’s App store.
  • Calling HMRC’s the tax credits helpline: 0345 300 3900.
  • (also by post, although this is not ideal given the deadline for contacting HMRC is 31 July).
  • HMRC’s full contact details for tax credits are available on the GOV.UK website.

Contact: Jane Booth (click here to Contact Us)
(First published: 29/07/20)

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