As exam results are released in Scotland today, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is reminding parents who receive Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits to inform them of their child’s educational status ahead of 31 August, otherwise payments will stop.
Parents can use the Personal Tax Account (PTA) service to update both their Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit information online in a matter of minutes; it’s quick and easy, and more than 12 million customers have registered for the PTA so far.
Parents must let HMRC know if their children are aged 16+ and continuing in full-time education or are undertaking an apprenticeship. Alternatively, if a young person leaves education or training - for example to start full-time work or because their course has ended, claimants must report this change straight away to prevent the build-up of overpayments, which they will have to pay back.
Angela MacDonald, Director General of Customer Services, said:
“Congratulations to students getting their results today. Results day is an exciting time for teenagers as they move on to the next step in their life, perhaps starting employment or deciding to continue with full-time education. Once parents or guardians know what their child has decided to do it’s really important they let us know as soon as possible, so they continue to get the right benefits and credits.
“This can be done quickly and simply using the Personal Tax Account, which is available 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. That means that parents can let us know their child’s education status, after they’ve turned 16, at a time that suits them ahead of the 31 August deadline.”
1. Customers can access their Personal Tax Account on any device - PC, tablet or smartphone. It is secure and takes just a few minutes to get started. Those doing it for the first time will need:
- their National Insurance number
- either a recent payslip or P60 (a passport can be used if you don't have these)
- a phone to receive a security access code.
There are three simple steps for customers to get started:
i. Go to gov.uk/personal-tax-account and click ‘start now’.
ii. Set up a Government Gateway account (if not already held) by answering a few simple questions - this is where a payslip or P60 is needed. A security access code will then be sent to the customer’s phone.
iii. Enter the access code on their phone when prompted, which will take them straight to their account.
People can continue to claim for teenagers aged between the ages of 16 and 19 years if they are in qualifying full-time education or training. Online information about what counts as education and training can be found on GOV.UK.
- Young people must be accepted onto qualifying education or training before their 19th birthday to be eligible.
- Child Tax Credit claimants need to confirm their continued eligibility annually for 16, 18 and 19 year olds.
2. Those unable to access the internet can also inform HMRC of changes on the phone by calling 0300 200 3100 or sending a letter to: Child Tax Credits: Tax Credits Office, Preston, PR1 4AT and/or Child Benefit: Child Benefit Office, PO Box 1, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE88 1AA.
3. Claimants could be given a penalty for failing to report a change, or even prosecuted for benefit fraud if they are found to have deliberately claimed money they were not entitled to.
4. If customers need help defining what counts as education, the government’s website contains information to help them. Some of the educational options available to 16 year olds include Highers, National 4s and 5s, National Certificates and SVQs up to level 3, as well as apprenticeships or traineeships. The qualifying education level is non-advanced, so studying for a degree at university or a Higher National Certificate does not count.
5. HMRC’s Flickr channel: www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
6. Follow HMRC’s press office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.
HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.