Celebrating exam results? Tell HMRC your kids' plans or risk losing child benefit

Tom Wilson
26 August 2016

If your child has just received GCSE results (or equivalent qualifications) you need to tell HMRC what they’ll be doing next year before 31 August, or risk losing child benefit and/or child tax credits.

GCSE results have just come in and for many young people these results will help them to decide what to do next with their lives.

But unless you tell HMRC about your kids’ plans, it will assume they’ve gone into work rather than stayed in education, and as a result, it will stop your child benefit and/or child tax credits payments.

All parents of children between 16 and 20 also need to know that in addition, if part way though the academic year your child leaves full time education or training, perhaps to start a full time job, parents need to update HMRC to avoid having to repay overpaid benefits later on. The same applies once your child’s course is complete.  


This is because you may still qualify for child benefits and/or child tax credits if your children are aged between 16 and 20 and are still in full-time education, studying towards A Levels, Scottish Highers, NVQs, or traineeships in England.

Young people in some unpaid training schemes may also be able to keep getting benefits until they turn 20, though they’ll need to be accepted for training before they turn 19.

Nick Lodge, director general of benefits and credits at HMRC says: “This is an exciting time for teenagers and their families as they decide which path they want to choose next. But it’s important that customers let us know what education their son or daughter is undertaking after they turn 16 so that we can ensure they receive the correct benefits.

“This can be done simply and quickly using the Personal Tax Account which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That means that parents can let us know their child’s education status at a time that suits them ahead of 31 August.”

Your Personal Tax Account Service can be found at www.gov.uk/personal-tax-account.


How much are child benefits and child tax credits worth?

Child tax credits are dependent on parents’ income. The support could be worth up to £2,780 per child, with further help for children with disabilities. The rules are complex, though HMRC has a calculator to help parents work out what they can claim.

There’s also an additional “family element” of child tax credits worth up to £545 a year, though this won’t be available to children born on or after 6 April 2017.

With child benefit, you receive £20.70 per week for your eldest child, plus £13.70 per week for each additional child. If you or your partner earn over £50,000 a year you may need to pay tax on your child benefit. See {Gov.uk} for further details.

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