⚠️ Universal Credit (UC) is gradually replacing tax credits, and some other social security benefits. Universal credit is now available across the UK and HMRC state that it is no longer possible for anyone to make a brand-new claim for tax credits. Instead, people are expected to claim UC or pension credit if appropriate. Existing tax credit claimants can continue to renew their tax credits and/or add extra elements to their claim. See our tax credit page for more information. Our understanding is that existing tax credit claimants will move to either universal credit or pension credit. The move to UC is expected to be complete by the end of 2024. You can find out more about this in our universal credit section. 

How do I claim tax credits?

Updated on 23 June 2022

Tax credits and benefits

To get tax credits, you will need to make a claim. On this page we detail the process.

Illustration of a person filling in a form online

Can I claim tax credits?

Universal Credit (UC) is available across the UK. HMRC state that it is no longer possible to make a brand new claim for tax credits. The only exception to this is for certain people who are granted refugee status. If you are already getting tax credits, see our tax credits and universal credit page for more information about how you will be affected.

️ If you already get working tax credit and want to claim child tax credit or vice versa, this does not count as a brand new claim. You can simply phone the tax credit helpline on 0345 300 3900 or report the change via your Personal Tax Account. If you already claim tax credits, you can continue to renew your claim in the usual way.

️ Note: The legislation which gives effect to these rules about new tax credit claims is not clear. One interpretation of the current legislation is that some other people may be able to make new claims for tax credits. We have written some guidance for advisers on our specialist website which provides further information about this – however, it is extremely complex and should not be followed without speaking to a welfare rights specialist.

Where do I get a claim form from?

HMRC stopped issuing paper claim forms from January 2019 and since then, anyone who needs to make a new claim will do so by telephone. At present, HMRC state that is no longer possible for anyone to make a new claim for tax credits. The only exception to this is for certain people who are granted refugee status. If you are granted refugee status and think you may be able to claim you must contact HMRC tax credits helpline as soon as you are granted refugee status.

HMRC have also withdrawn the detailed notes that accompanied the form (TC600) but you can see an archived version from 2018/19 in the GOV.UK website. (Please note that the notes are not kept up to date and explain the rules as they were in 2018/19).

How do I claim if I already get tax credits?

If you already claim working tax credit and want to claim child tax credit or vice versa, you do not need to go through a new claim. You can phone the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900 (textphone 0345 300 3909) or tell HMRC using the tax credit online service on GOV.UK and they will amend your claim.

What if my income is too high to claim tax credits?

Normally, when you claim tax credits, payments can only be backdated for up to 31 days (see our backdating section for more information). If you make a protective claim at the beginning of the year so that your award – even if it is nil - starts at the beginning of the tax year, and your income falls so that your award changes from nil to a positive amount, you will receive your entitlement for the whole tax year rather than just 31 days. People with protective claims are often called ‘nil award’ claims. Each year, HMRC remove Nil award claims from the system. They may write to you and tell you that unless you contact them by a certain date, your protective claim will not continue. You should seek advice before deciding to leave the system as once you do that, you are unlikely to be able to make a new claim if your circumstances change at a later date.

Tax guides

Share this page