Tax credits Tax credits: do you qualify?

Father with daughter

If you have children you may be eligible for some tax credit

The general rule is that, to qualify for tax credits, you must be aged 16 or over and a resident in the UK. 

For child tax credits, you must also have a right to reside in the UK and usually live in the UK. You may also qualify if you don't live in the UK but you are:

  • A citizen of another country in the European Economic Area (EEA) and you work in the United Kingdom, or
  • A Crown Servant and posted overseas, or
  • A citizen of a country in the European Economic Area (including the UK) living abroad and you receive a UK state pension or contributions-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

NOTE: Tax Credits are due to be replaced by Universal Credit. Transitional arrangements will apply. Full details are yet to be announced. 

Do you qualify for tax credits?

Tax credits: Information for couples

Couples must make a joint tax credits claim. If you are part of a couple, irrespective of whether you are married, in a civil partnership or co-habiting, you cannot decide to claim as a single person. 

Tax credits: Qualifying for child tax credits

Child tax credits are for people who are responsible for at least one child or qualifying young person. You can find out who is a 'qualifying young person' on the child tax credits page.

Child tax credit is usually paid direct to the person who is mainly responsible for caring for the child or children.

Tax credits: Qualifying for working tax credits

Working tax credit is for people who are employed or self-employed who:

  • are paid for that work and
  • expect to work for at least four weeks, 

and who:

  • work at least 16 hours each week and are aged 16 or over and responsible for at least one child or
  • work at least 16 hours a week, are aged 16 or over and disabled or
  • work at least 16 hours a week, are aged 60 or over and have recently claimed certain benefits or
  • are aged 25 or over and usually work at least 30 hours a week

You cannot normally receive working tax credit if you are not working. However, some people will be treated as working, for example when they are receiving Statutory Sick Pay or Statutory Maternity Pay.

Couples and working tax credits

If you are part of a couple, working tax credit is paid to the person who is working 16 hours or more a week. If you both work 16 hours or more a week, you must choose which one of you will receive it.

Tax credits: Paying for childcare

If you qualify for working tax credit and you have to pay for childcare, then you may qualify for help towards the cost of your childcare. 

You can find out more on the page which covers working tax credit. Note that if you are only eligible for child tax credit, you cannot claim for help with childcare payments.

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Last updated:

April 2016

Updated by:

Joe Elvin

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