HMRC has published four documents relating to the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC): the outcome of the HMRC review into HICBC cases where a failure to notify penalty was charged, a Freedom of Information Act release on HICBC, a research report on HICBC awareness, understanding and decision making and a survey of child benefit claimants.
The key points to emerge are:
Number of people paying the HICBC
Families that have opted out of receiving child benefit
at August of each year
This illustrates a trend towards opting out of receiving the benefit.
Taxpayers who failed to register for self assessment
Taxpayers who returned an incorrect amount
Number of penalties
Value of penalties
Only half of claimants were aware that if their (or their partner’s) income exceeded a set threshold they may be required to repay some or all of their child benefit and only 14% were aware of the specific income threshold. There was very limited awareness of the other benefits of claiming beyond receipt of payments ie, a claimant’s eligibility to receive National Insurance credits which count towards the state pension and the automatic notification of the child’s National Insurance number when they reach 16. Some of the more than half a million families who have opted out of receiving child benefit will include a parent who will lose out on state pension in the future. The most common misconception held by respondents was that individuals are not eligible to claim child benefit if their income is over the £50,000 HICBC threshold. Many respondents were not aware of the possibility of claiming and then opting-out of receiving payment, assuming that this was the same as not claiming. This was even the case amongst those respondents who had opted out; they tended to see themselves as non-claimants.