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Do you have tax credits or child benefit paid into a Post Office Card Account? You must act before 30 November 2021

Published on 31 August 2021

From 30 November 2021, HMRC will stop making any payments into Post Office Card Accounts (POCa). This is because their contract with the Post Office is ending.

Anyone who uses a Post Office Card Account for their payments from HMRC must provide different bank account details otherwise payments will stop.

Illustration of the words tax credits

What kind of payments are affected?

The change affects payments made by HMRC covering:

  • Tax credits (HMRC)
  • Child benefit (HMRC)
  • Guardian’s Allowance (HMRC)

If you get DWP benefits such as universal credit, you may get a similar letter from DWP as their contract with the Post Office is also ending. You should follow the instructions in any letter from DWP.

Will HMRC contact me?

HMRC are writing to people who are affected by this change asking them to provide alterative bank account details as soon as possible.

If HMRC already holds an alternative acceptable bank account for you, HMRC will be writing to you to advise that they will use this account for your benefit or tax credits. If you want to use a different account, you must let HMRC know within 30 days of receiving the letter, or you can contact them now with your preferred account details.

What do I need to do?

You need to provide alternative bank account details for your payments to be paid into as soon as you can.

HMRC contact details are available on the GOV.UK website, for tax credits, child benefit and guardian’s allowance.

If you get payments from another government department into your POCA, HMRC will share your new bank account details with those departments as well.

What will happen to my payments after 30 November 2021?

If you provide alternative bank account details to HMRC (DWP for universal credit, state pension, benefits), your payments will continue.

If you don’t provide alternative bank account details, HMRC say your payments will stop. HMRC will send you a further letter asking you to provide new bank details or to contact them to discuss if you are unable to open a suitable bank account.

Where can I find information about bank accounts?

HMRC have said most current or basic accounts from UK banks, building societies and credit unions will already accept automated payments for tax credits, child benefit and guardian’s allowance.

This could be a current account from a bank, building society or credit union or a basic bank account that does not charge any fees.

If you are not sure what bank account is best for you, you can call the Money Advice Line on 0800 138 7777 (English) or 0800 138 0555 (Welsh). For Typetalk dial 18001 0800 915 4622 (contact information can be found on this page).

Where can I find more information?

There is some information about payments to Post Office card accounts on the GOV.UK website.

The Post Office website provides more information about the closure of Post Office card accounts.

The is an article on the Money Advice Service website with information about the closure of Post Office Card Accounts.

What if I can’t get open an alternative account?

If you can’t open an alternative bank account or provide alternative account details you should contact HMRC to discuss your situation before 30 November 2021. You should not ignore the letter.

Contact: Jane Booth (click here to Contact Us)
First published: 31/08/21

 

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