There are always lots of costs that crop up when you become a parent, so it’s sensible to make sure that you’ve taken advantage of all the funding entitlements that the government offers.
In the UK, the main funding option that most people are aware of is Child Benefit. However, parents can usually also qualify for the award of weekly Child Tax Credits, subject to evaluation of your household annual income and circumstances.
Checking whether you are entitled to receive Child Tax Credits:
A good starting point is to go to the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website, which can be found at http://taxcredits.hmrc.gov.uk/HomeNew.aspx . Click on the “Do I qualify?” link and it will take you to a series of screens that will ask you to input various details to determine whether you are entitled to the tax credits and how much you may be entitled to.
Having entered details of your income, your partner’s income, plus details of your child or children, the form will return a screen that will show whether you are likely to be eligible and an indication of the annual level of money that you might expect to receive. It then prompts you to phone the HMRC Helpdesk, on 0845 300 3900, to request a claim form.
Getting a claim form:
Upon phoning the HMRC Helpdesk, select the AVR option that corresponds to submitting a new tax credits claim. You will be placed in a queue to speak to a HMRC member of staff. They will take details from you, starting with your National Insurance Number. They will also ask a series of security-related questions to confirm that you are who you say you are. As part of this process they will ask you to create two passwords that can be used to verify you for future calls.
They will also offer to take you through a series of questions (as per the web form) to give an indication of how much you may be eligible for. The claims form will then be posted out to your address.
Submitting a Child Tax Credit request:
Once you’ve received the HMRC Child Tax Credit form, you will need to complete the requested information, sign the form, and return it by post. It is important that you enter your income details (and your partner’s) accurately as any omissions or inaccuracies could affect your eligibility or the amount that you will receive.
The form asks you to detail your main income (and your partner’s) and any supplemental income that you may receive, such as savings interest, share dividends, etc. It’s quite a detailed form and it’s important that you get the information correct; otherwise your claim may be rejected or the amount reduced.
You will also be asked to nominate the bank account that you wish the payments to be made into and whether you’d like to receive the payments on a weekly or four weekly basis.
Having filled in the form and signed and dated it, it’s just a case of posting it back to the HMRC and waiting for them to provide formal confirmation of whether you will get child tax credits.