We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies as per our policy which also explains how to change your preferences.

Tax credits: do you qualify?

Find out whether you qualify for child tax credits or working tax credits. 

In this article
How do I qualify for tax credits? Can couples claim tax credits? Tax credits: Paying for childcare

How do I qualify for tax credits?

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:  Existing tax credits claimants will be moved to Universal Credit in July 2019. You may be able to claim Universal Credit earlier, depending on your area.

Can couples claim tax credits?

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. 

How do I claim 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.

How do I claim working tax credits?

Working tax credits are usually for people 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.