Are you missing out on tax credits?
Did you know that the British public is entitled to more than £7billion in tax credits that are currently unclaimed?
A report released last year on the UK’s tax entitlement revealed that thousands of families throughout the country are failing to claim their maximum entitlement of means-tested tax credit, either through incorrectly applying for financial assistance or failing to update their records when their circumstances changed.
Here is a list of some of the most commonly under-claimed tax credits in the UK:
Working tax credit
Financial support for those on low income who work at least 30 hours per week if they do not have children or 16 hours a week if you have a child and are responsible for their care (24 hours week total for couples, with one partner working at least 16 hours).
Child tax credit
Financial support for parents on a low income if you have a new baby, a child under 16 that lives with you or a child under 20 who is still in education or training that still lives with you. Step parents are allowed to apply if the child lives with them or they are financially responsible for them, although only one household can claim tax credits for a child.
Tax-free ‘in work credit’ weekly payments are also available for single parents that work for a living. The supplement is £40 per week (£60 per week in London).
Financial support for retired people on a low income. Single pensioners that receive a pension of less than £142.70 per week and couples that receive less than £217.90 can have their payments ‘topped up’ to that amount by the government. There are additional credits available for those who draw money from a non-state pension that they built up themselves during their working lifetime.
In addition to the credit scheme, there are a number of government supplements available to those on a limited income or with personal circumstances that affect their ability to earn a living. Just a few of these entitlements include…
- Bereavement allowance – contribution of up to £97.65 per week following the death of a spouse or civil partner (maximum 52 weeks)
- Carer’s allowance – financial support for those who look after someone with physical or mental disabilities
- Disability living allowance – tax-free contribution for those who require care due to a disability
- Jobseeker’s allowance – supplement for those who work less than 16 hours a week and are looking for further employment
- Council tax benefit – support for those on low incomes who are struggling to pay their council tax bill
- Guardian’s allowance – tax free supplement for those raising children following the death of their biological/adoptive parents
- Incapacity benefit – weekly financial assistance for those of working age who are unable to undertake employment due to an illness, injury or disability
- Income support – supplement for low income households that are not declaring jobseeker’s allowance or registered unemployed
- Maternity allowance – weekly payment for women on maternity leave who do not qualify for statutory maternity pay
- School uniform allowance – grant administered by local councils to low income families in order to purchase their children’s school uniforms
- Winter fuel payment – grant offered to the elderly to supplement their heating costs during winter months
If you think you are failing to claim tax credits or other benefits that you are entitled to, there are a number of online calculators available that will give you a quick guideline to the assistance you should be receiving.
People who believe they have a case for increased benefits should seek the advice of organisations such as Citizens Advice, who have experts in dealing with these types of claims. In addition to increasing your benefit entitlement going forward, you may also be eligible to receive backdated payments in lieu of the money you should have already been receiving. The benefit system can be quite complicated as each household can qualify for a number of grants or tax breaks, so seeking professional advice is the easiest way of making sure you get the correct sum due.
The most important thing is to check your benefit entitlement every time your circumstances change – from losing a job or becoming injured to having a baby or retiring – as these alterations in your life could mean you’re entitled to more money. At the end of the day, the government puts this support money aside for a reason, and it’s your job to make sure you are being paid the full amount you’re entitled to for a better quality of life.