How to ensure tax credits payments for your 16-19 year old don’t stop

3 mins read

Friday 19 August 2022

Do you have a 16-19 year old staying in school or college after the summer holidays?

Remember to let the Tax Credit Office know by 31 August or you could lose out on tax credit payments.

Keep the Tax Credit Office informed or your payments will stop

Our welfare rights expert Derek Sinclair said:

“The Tax Credit Office always assume that a 16-year-old is a school leaver during the summer. As a result, they automatically stop any tax credit payments for a young person from 1 September.

“In order for your these payments to continue, you must contact the Tax Credit Office. Confirm with them the details of the course your 16-year-old will be doing after the summer.

“You still need to do this even if you live in England – despite the fact that 16-year-olds in England are required to remain in education or training until they are 18. The definition of approved education used by tax credits is different from that used by the Department for Education.”

Similar rule applies to 17, 18 and 19-year-olds

Derek continues:

“As well as 16-year-olds, a similar rule applies to 17, 18 and 19-year-olds. This means you also need to let the Tax Credit Office know if you have a 17, 18 or 19-year-old staying in full-time non-advanced education or approved training after the summer. If you don’t, payments for them are likely to stop.”

What do I need to do?

To make sure that your tax credit payments aren’t reduced, call the Tax Credit Office on 0345 300 3900. You should also contact the Child Benefit office to let them know separately on 0300 200 3100.

Alternatively, you can let them both know online if you have a government gateway account. This allows you to update both your child tax credit and child benefit information at the same time.

So long as you contact the Tax Credit Office by 31 August, either by phone or online, your tax credit payments will continue.

If you miss that deadline, phone the Tax Credit Office as soon as you can. This is to make sure that payments for your 16-19 year old are re-instated as quickly as possible. The maximum these payments can be backdated is one month. If you don’t tell them until after 31 September, you will end up losing out.

Missing the deadline may be a particular problem if your 16-19 year old is the only child you get tax credits for. If that applies, your tax credits could stop altogether. If that happens and you try and reclaim, HMRC may argue that you have to claim Universal Credit instead. Seek further advice if you find yourself in this position.

When can tax credit payments continue for 16-19 year olds?

Once a child leaves non-advanced education or training, you cannot normally continue to claim benefits for them as a dependant.

Child tax credit payments can continue for a 16-19 year old on a course of non-advanced education that averages more than 12 hours supervised study a week. Payments can also continue if they are on a study programme (England only) or in certain types of approved training.

See our page on benefits at 16 for more details.

If your child is temporarily out of education due to ill-health, but intends to return to full time non-advanced education in the future, contact our helpline for further advice.