The LITRG is reminding people in receipt of tax credits that just three weeks remain to complete renewal forms. Those same people must be especially vigilant of scams targeting claimants through fake emails, websites and even text messages.
By July 31st most tax credits claimants must complete and return their renewal forms, either by post, telephone or on-line. LITRG cautions that even if you no longer want to claim or think you are no longer entitled, if you have claimed tax credits at all during the 2014/15 tax year, you will still be included in the renewal exercise and will need to make sure you follow HMRC’s instructions to complete and finalise your claim for 2014/15.
Anthony Thomas, Chairman of LITRG, said:
“By now, claimants should have received a renewal pack. Most claimants will receive two forms with accompanying guidance notes and will be expected to reply to HMRC by 31 July. Other claimants will have received one form and they will have their claims automatically finalised and renewed unless they contact HMRC to say something on the form is incorrect or they have had a change of circumstances.
“You should read the guidance notes carefully, particularly the parts that explain what counts as income for tax credits and what deductions are allowable from income. You must then carefully check the details on the 603R review before making your declaration by 31 July.
“Whether you are required to reply or are an auto-renewal, it is important you take any necessary action as soon as possible so that HMRC know how much to pay you for the rest of the year, or if you are no longer entitled to credits in order that they can finalise your 2014/15 claim. If HMRC have been paying you too much since the start of the tax year in April, you could have been overpaid and renewing promptly will stop any overpayment from continuing to build up. If you have been paid too little for the previous tax year, the sooner you renew, the sooner you will receive that underpayment.
“If you fail to renew on time, you could find yourself having to repay to HMRC all the tax credits you have been paid since the start of the tax year in April.”
How do I renew?
Tax credits can be renewed through post, phone and online. HMRC’s tax credit helpline is an 0345 number which is the same cost to call as a standard UK landline phone number. We expect the phone line to be extremely busy in the lead up to the 31 July deadline. However you can also renew your tax credits online. Those renewing online can do so through the official GOV.UK website.
Sadly, this is a time of the year when there is an increase in fraudulent activity which often targets the most vulnerable taxpayers. Claimants should remember that tax credits can only be renewed using the official HMRC phone number, website and correspondence.
Further information on renewing tax credits (including the requirements for doing so) can be found here; the process for the renewal can be started, here. HMRC can be contacted either using the official phone number – 0345 300 3900 – or the official HMRC online service.