HMRC warning on tax credits renewal

About 1.5 million people who receive tax credits have less than one month to renew their claims or risk having their payments stopped, the taxman has warned.

HMRC is offering people renewing their claims this year the option of doing this online before the July 31 deadline
HMRC is offering people renewing their claims this year the option of doing this online before the July 31 deadline

For the first time, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is offering people renewing their claims this year the option of doing this online before the July 31 deadline.

They can do this either by going to the web page gov.uk/renewtaxcredits or by using the free HMRC app, which is available in the iTunes store and the Google Play stores . Claimants can still renew by post or over the phone by calling 0345 300 3900.

So far, 135,000 people have submitted their tax credits renewal online and HMRC said consumers' satisfaction rate with renewing this way has been "a consistent 96%".

Tax credits are benefits that give extra money to people responsible for children, disabled workers and some other workers on lower incomes. Some people receive child tax credits, some receive working tax credits and some receive both.

Renewal packs have been sent to 5.8 million people since April and claimants have been asked to act as soon as they receive a pack.

In these packs, HMRC asks claimants to check the accuracy of the information it holds about them, and to give information about any changes to their circumstances that they have not already reported, such as to their working hours, childcare costs or pay.

A portion of these 5.8 million people will not have to do anything as their claims will automatically renew because their circumstances have not changed for some time.

But just over three million of them do need to get in touch with HMRC to confirm their circumstances, and so far, around half of these people have done so, leaving around 1.5 million people remaining. Last year, more than 650,000 people failed to renew on time.

Nick Lodge, director general of benefits and credits at HMRC, said: "Loads of people have already renewed their tax credits claim online, and have found it quick and easy to do.

"We've now made it even better and are encouraging everyone to renew online if they can, at a time that suits them. The most important thing is to renew before the 31 July deadline, so as not to risk losing your money."