Consumer Rights: Last call to renew your tax credits ahead of Wednesday's deadline
If the taxman doesn't receive the form on time, you may end up losing out on benefits, repaying cash – and could even face paying a penalty
Saturday 27 July 2013
If you get working tax credit or child tax credit, don't ignore that renewal pack any longer. If your claim has to be renewed, post it today. HMRC has been sending out renewal forms in stages and everyone should have one by now. For most claimants the form has to be back by Wednesday. If you need to renew but don't do so by 31 July, your payments could stop, you may have to repay all the tax credits you've received so far this tax year, and you might even find yourself with a penalty.
The tax credit office uses the renewal forms to check that it has the right information about you and whether anything has changed that could affect the amount you're entitled to. The form is also important from your point of view because the office uses it to make sure that you get the right amount for the coming tax year and were paid the correct amount for the past tax year. If you are paid more tax credits than you're entitled to, you will usually have to pay the money back.
If you claimed tax credits in the last tax year – even if you didn't get them because your income was too high to qualify, or you only got them for part of the year – you should have a renewal pack. Some packs will have just an Annual Review notice (TC603R). You'll get the notice on its own if you get only the family element of child tax credit, if you claimed tax credits but didn't get them because your income was too high, or you got income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-based employment and support allowance or pension credit for the whole of the last tax year. If your pack has only the Annual Review Notice, your claim will be renewed automatically, but you should check that all the information on it is correct. However, your pack may have an Annual Review Notice plus an Annual Declaration form (TC603D or TC603D2). The Annual Declaration form is the one that has to be sent back to renew your claim. You cannot renew until you have received your renewal pack and you cannot renew online.
Send the completed Annual Declaration form (TC603D or TC603D2) to the Tax Credit Office in the reply envelope provided, or call the Tax Credit Helpline if you want to avoid being late with the renewal. If you do renew over the phone, keep a written note of everything you are told. If you are a couple and have made a joint claim, you need to give details of both your incomes and circumstances.
If you haven't received your renewal pack, contact the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900 for the forms. You will then have 30 days to renew or report a change in circumstances. Your payments will carry on in the meantime, but if they are based on out-of-date information you may not get the correct amount.
Even if you don't have to renew your claim you do still need to tell the Tax Credit Office straightaway if your circumstances change, your income is different from what is shown on the Annual Review notice, or there are any mistakes or details missing on the forms. Don't forget to tell the office about changes or you could face a big bill for overpayments or miss out on money you are entitled to.
It usually takes up to eight weeks to deal with your renewal. The Tax Credit Office will then send you an award notice with a final decision for the last tax year and a separate award notice showing what your payments will be for the new tax year, including any overpayments or underpayments. The Tax Credit Office may write to you to check that you have renewed correctly and may ask you for evidence, for example, of your income. So keep any relevant paperwork safe. If you don't get your award notice within eight weeks, contact the Tax Credit Helpline.
A few words of warning from Jane Moore, technical manager at ICAEW (the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales), who says: "If you have a high income, watch out that HMRC may have decided to take you out of the tax credits system unless you tell them specifically that you want to stay in. If you don't have final income figures for 2012/13 [for example, you may be self-employed and not have your final accounts yet], you must still do something by 31 July.
"You can fill in the Declaration form with estimated figures and send it back. Your claim will be renewed and your payments will continue, though you should send in final figures by 31 January 2014."
Q: I bought a new suite of furniture at the end of last year. At the time my old one was falling apart and I was working, so the shop arranged a loan for me. But now I'm out of work, I'm struggling to pay the rent and the bills and can't keep up the repayments on the loan. The finance company says it is going to take away the suite while the shop says that it is nothing to do with it. I know now that I should never have signed the finance agreement. I've learnt my lesson but I don't know how to get the finance company off my back. I've got rid of my credit cards and don't want to borrow from anywhere else. I could probably only get a loan from some kind of loan shark anyway, but I still need something to sit on. Can you suggest anything that I can do?
A: If you are in breach of a credit agreement – as in your case because you're behind with your repayments – the first thing to do is check the type of agreement and the details of the circumstances in which, how and when the creditor is entitled to end the agreement. With most agreements they have to send you a default notice setting out what the breach is, how you can stop further action being taken, what will happen if you don't and the time limits. If you can't come up with the money, the creditor may be entitled to terminate the agreement, demand early payment of the money you owe, or repossess goods. Usually, the lender will need a court order to repossess unless you've paid less than one third of the total amount. Keep paying your rent and bills and try negotiating smaller loan repayments you can afford. If that fails or you simply can't pay anything and the lender goes ahead and repossesses, with or without a court order, they will sell the suite at auction where prices are unlikely to cover the total owed. You will have to pay the shortfall plus any court costs. In that case your only option is to ask if you can try to sell the suite yourself as you may get more for it. You could pre-empt any further action by ending the agreement yourself and giving the suite back (check exactly how much you will have to pay if you do this). You could then trawl the recycling sites, where people offer goods for free, for a replacement.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Fuel poverty could kill 100,000 vulnerable people over the next 15 years, charity warns
Bargain Hunter: Affordable art - suddenly being a collector is just a walk in the park
Phoenix Life: Chance of a refund for overcharged policyholders has risen
Simon Read: You're guilty until proven innocent when HMRC sends in the tax credit detectives
Simon Read: That's right, BT, they'd rather pay for a free service
- 1 Michelle Rodriguez: Fast & Furious actor apologises after telling 'minorities' to stop taking on 'white' roles
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...
£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...
£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...
Day In a Page
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads