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Tax credits

Child tax credits

By Joe Elvin

Article 5 of 9

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Child tax credits

Calculate how much child tax credit you are entitled to receive in the 2017-18 tax year.

Child tax credits can top up your income if you are responsible for at least one child or young person. You don't have to be working to claim. 

Child tax credits are made up of a number of different payments (called 'elements'). How much you can get depends on your income, the number of children you have, and whether any of your children are disabled. 

To get the maximum amount of child tax credit, you need to have annual income of £16,105 or less in the 2017-18.

If you earn more than this, the amount of child tax credits you get reduces. 

Here we explain how you qualify for child tax credits and how to calculate what you might be able to get.

How to qualify for child tax credits in 2017/18

Child tax credits will be paid until the September following your child's 16th birthday. So, for example, if your child's 16th birthday was 1 June 2017, your child tax credits stop on 1 September 2017.

The only way to continue to get child tax credits if your child is aged between 16-20 and is in full-time education or in approved training that doesn't come with pay. 

You can also child tax credit if your child is 16 or 17 and isn't in further education or training if they:

  • don't have a job of 24 hours a week or more and have registered with their local careers service or Connexions service and;
  • aren't claiming income support, incapacity benefit, employment support allowance or tax credits in their own right.

To get child tax credits you must be responsible for a child, but you don't have to be their parent. As long as you are the main carer, you are considered eligible. Only one household per child can claim child tax credits. 

So, if you and your child's parent have split up, the main carer will be the one who can receive child tax credits. If you can't decide, the Tax Credit Office can decide for you.

Tax credits are being replaced by Universal Credit. It is not possible to get both. If you live in a Universal Credit area and you don't already receive child tax credit, you won't be able to start a new application unless you have 3 or more children. Find out more about Universal Credit on gov.uk. 

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How much is child tax credit in 2017/18?

Tax credits are made up of a number of different 'elements' or payments.

You may be eligible for just the family element and child element or for a few different elements, depending on your family circumstances.

The table below shows the different child tax credit elements and the maximum amount each element is worth in the 2017-18 tax year. 

Child tax credit elements in 2017/18

Child tax credit
Child Tax Credit elements Maximum amount paid for 2017 - 18
Family element – the basic element for families responsible for one or more children £545
Child element - one for each child or young person you are responsible for £2,780
Disability element - one for each child you are responsible for if you are receiving disability living allowance for the child, or the child is registered blind or has been taken off the blind register in the 28 weeks before the date of claim £3,175
Severe disability element - one for each child you are responsible for if you receive the Highest Rate Care Component of Disability Living Allowance for the child £1,290

Child tax credit income thresholds

The income threshold for receiving the maximum amount of working tax credit for your circumstances is £16,105.

 For every £1 of income over this threshold you earn per year, the amount of tax credits paid decreases by 41p.

Child tax credit reductions example

For example, if you received the family element and child element of child tax credits and earned £16,000 a year, you'd get the full £3,325 (£545 + £2,780). 

If your income went up by £2,000 to £18,000, the amount of tax credit you could earn would reduce by:

  • 41p for every £1 over £16,105 you earn
  • That translates to £1,895
  • £1,895 x 0.41 (or 41p) is £776.95

The total amount of child tax credit you would get is £2548.05 (£3,325 - £776.95)

Child tax credits in 2017/18 - how much could you get?

When you put in your child tax credits claim, the Tax Credit Office will first work out the maximum amount of tax credits you are eligible for, based on how many children you have, and if your child has any disabilities. 

They will then look to see if any of your tax credits award needs to be reduced because of your income. The higher your income, the fewer tax credits you are likely to get. 

The tables below show how much child tax credit you might be able to receive according to your household income and how many children you have. 

Both tables assume you aren't eligible for working tax credit and your children aren't disabled. Disabled children are also eligible for the disability element. 

Child tax credits for children born after 6 April 2017

If your first child was born after 6 April 2017, support is limited to the first two children. 

These new rules don't apply to:

  • twins or triplets born to families who had no children or one child;
  • children looked after by a 'friend or family carer';
  • adopted children (unless adopted by step-parents);
  • disabled children

The rules also don't apply if your child was born from rape. You'll need to fill in a non-consensual conception form with the help of your doctor, social worker, or a specialist rape charity. 

If you've been affected by this and want to talk to someone, you can get support from Women's Aid, Victim Support or Rape Crisis

Child tax credit and working tax credit 

If you work and you're on a low income, you might also be eligible for working tax credit. When you apply for child tax credits,  you'll also be told if you can apply for working tax credit. You don't have to apply for them separately.

If you can get them both, your income threshold is lower. Your tax credits will reduce after you earn £6420.

Find out more: working tax credit explained, including a table with an illustrative example of what you might be able to get if you are eligible for both tax credits.

However, don't forget that the amount you can get is dependent on your specific circumstances. Our guide shows you how to calculate your tax credits.

Reporting changes to your circumstances

It's important to keep HMRC up to date with changes to your income or family circumstances. Find out more in our guide to tax credits and changes in circumstances

  • Last updated: August 2017
  • Updated by: Gareth Shaw
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