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Law guide

Working tax credit


You may get Working Tax Credit if you work enough hours a week but are on a low income. Extra money is available if you pay for childcare, work 30 or more hours a week or are disabled.

Who is eligible?

To claim Working Tax Credit, you have to be aged 16 or over, work for at least 16 hours or more a week and at least one of the following:

  • Be responsible for a child or qualifying young person
  • Have a disability
  • Be aged 25 or over and usually working at least 30 hours a week
  • Be aged 50 or over and are going back to work after being on out of work benefits

Tax credits are based on your household circumstances, so you'll need to give information that includes:

  • Your income and the number of hours you usually work a week
  • The income of your partner or civil partner (if you have one) and the number of hours they work a week
  • Any benefits you're getting
  • The number and ages of children in your family
  • The amount you spend each week on childcare

How much do you get?

The amount of Working Tax Credit you get depends on various things including your annual income. Payment is made up of different elements:

Working Tax Credit elementsMaximum amount for the 2012-2013 tax year

Basic element paid to everyone who is entitled to receive Working Tax Credit


Second adult element


Lone parent element


An element payable if you work 30 hours or more per week


Disability element


Severe disability element


An element payable if you're 50 or over and returning to work


A childcare element, where you can get back up to 70 per cent of your costs for qualifying childcare

£175 maximum eligible cost per week if you're paying for one child £300 maximum eligible cost per week if you're paying for two or more children

If you have young children or children in full-time education you may be entitled to Child Tax Credit.

How it's paid

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will pay Working Tax Credit by Direct Payment to your bank, building society, Post Office® account or National Savings account. The payments will be made either weekly or every four weeks.

If you're part of a couple or civil partnership and you both work at least 24 hours a week, you can decide who'll get the Working Tax Credit payments.

HMRC pays the childcare element of Working Tax Credit directly to the main carer for all the children in the family, along with Child Tax Credit.

How to claim

To claim tax credits you have to fill in a claim form.

You can order a claim pack over the phone by calling one of the helplines.

Or you can pick up a claim pack from your nearest HMRC Enquiry Centre or Jobcentre Plus.

You can fill the form in yourself and send it back by post. If you need any help completing the form you can call the Tax Credit Helpline who will be happy to provide further advice.

If you claim other benefits, such as Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseeker's Allowance, your Jobcentre Plus - or in Northern Ireland, a Social Security office - will help you with your tax credits claim form.

What to do if your circumstances change

If you get Working Tax Credit you should tell HMRC when your circumstances change. If you don't, you may not get all of the money you're entitled to, or if you get too much, you may have to pay some back.

How to appeal

If you're refused Working Tax Credit, you think your tax credits have been calculated wrongly or you have a penalty you disagree with, you should begin by contacting the HMRC complaints manager setting out the details of your complaint and how you would like it to be resolved.

If you're still unhappy with the outcome, you can ask them to look at your complaint again. They will:

  • Take a fresh look at it and how they've handled it
  • Give you a final decision

You can do this in writing, by phone or you can ask the person you've been dealing with to do it for you.

If these steps don't resolve your problem, you can appeal to the Adjudicator.

The Adjudicator is an independent referee. Visit the Adjudicator's Office website for contact details.

Finally, if you're still dissatisfied you can take the matter up with the Parliamentary Ombudsman. Contact your MP and get him to refer the matter to the Ombudsman.

For more information, visit the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman website

You can also ask your MP to take up your case with HMRC or Treasury Ministers.