Child benefit can be claimed by anyone responsible for raising a child so long as they live in the UK. Only one person can claim for a child though and for an eldest or only child, a claimant will receive a weekly rate of £21.05.
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Claims for additional children will get a rate of £13.95 per child.
Child benefit can be claimed from as soon as the child’s birth is registered and it can be received up until the child turns 16.
This in itself could be extended to when the child turns 20 if they stay in approved training or education.
There are few costs associated with claiming child benefit and the government actively encourages families to claim it as it could protect a person’s state pension when they retire.
However, there is one instance where a person (or family) may want to carefully consider claiming it at all.
Claimants who earn over £50,000 per year will likely face a “high income child benefit tax charge”.
This £50,000 figure will affect claimants if they themselves earn higher than that or their partner does.
If the claimant’s income level is between £50,000 and £60,000 a year, they’ll need to repay some of the child benefit as income tax.
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This will need to be done through a self-assessment tax return so HMRC can calculate the amount of extra income tax they’ll need to levy.
Claimants will usually be required to pay back one percent of their family’s child benefit for every £100 they earn over £50,000 each year.
So, as an example, a family could be claiming child benefit for a single child while getting £51,000 per year in income.
The income is £1,000 over the limit (10 x £100) so the extra tax is 10 percent of the £20.70 paid out.
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In this case, the extra tax paid back will be £107.64 a year (£2.07 x 52).
If earnings were to be more than £60,000 a year, the claimant would need to pay back the entirety of their child benefit as income tax.
For those this tax charge affects may be put off from claiming at all but it should be noted that child benefit and its perks can be claimed while forgoing the actual payments.
People can complete the child benefit claim form while choosing not to receive the actual payments, ensuring that they’ll still receive National Insurance credits.
A claimant can stop receiving child benefit at any point and there are a number of ways to do this.
To stop child benefit, a person can either:
- Fill in an online form or
- Contact the child benefit office by phone or post
This cannot be done if the claimant is using child benefit to pay back an overpayment.
Also, once the child benefit stops the claimant must pay back any tax due for each tax year up to the date it ends.
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