The final deadline for renewing tax credits is 31 January 2018. This applies to renewals of working tax credit (WTC) and/or child tax credit (CTC) for 2017/18 and finalising awards for 2016/17.
Most people will not be affected by this final deadline, which generally will not be relevant if you renewed by the first deadline, 31 July 2017. However, it is relevant for those who failed to renew, or who renewed using estimated figures.
If you missed the July deadline
Claimants who missed the 31 July 2017 deadline, and did not take steps to complete the renewal after that, will have had their tax credit payments for 2017/18 stopped by now.
However, there is a possibility that you can restore your 2017/18 award if you have ‘good cause’ for missing the first deadline and renew by 31 January 2018. Contact HMRC without delay.
If you cannot show good cause, you will have to make a new claim, which can only be backdated by one month, and will have to repay the provisional payments made to you since April 2017. There is also the risk of a penalty for failing to comply with the renewal requirements.
If you renewed using estimated figures
Some claimants may not have had final 2016/17 income figures in July 2017 and will have renewed their tax credits claim using estimated figures. This could apply, for example, to self-employed people who did not yet have final accounts.
If you renewed using estimated figures, you should send HMRC the final figures by 31 January 2018. You might find your final figures are lower than the estimates, with the possibility of a higher revised 2016/17 award. There is also the risk of a penalty for failing to provide final figures.
There is useful guidance on tax credit renewals on the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group website.
For advisers, revenuebenefits.org.uk has detailed guidance on all aspects of tax credits