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Your child reaches 16 - are you still entitled to tax credits?

When your child reaches 16 you can only get tax credits for them if they're staying on at school or college, or starting an approved training course.

You need to tell the Tax Credit Office your child's plans or they'll stop their tax credits payments on 31 August after their 16th birthday. You also need to tell themif they stop their studies or training.

If your child is aged 16 to 19 and in full-time education

If your child is aged 16 but under the age of 20, you can claim tax credits for them as long as they're in full-time education.

Usually this will be in a school or college, studying for qualifications like:

  • A levels
  • Scottish Highers
  • NVQ at Level 3

You won't be able to get tax credits if your child's education is:

  • provided by their employer or through any office they hold (for example a scout leader or councillor)
  • an advanced course at higher education level, such as a degree

'Full-time' means they're taught or supervised for more than an average of12 hours a week.

If your child is aged 16 to 19 and on a training course

If your child is over 16 but under the age of 20, you can claim tax credits for them as long as they're on an approved training course and it isn't provided by a contract of employment. Approved courses:

  • don't pay wages
  • teach the skills your child needs to do a job

For a training course to be approved it should be one of the following:

  • England - Entry to Employment or Programme Led Apprenticeships
  • Scotland - Get Ready for Work, Skillseekers or Modern Apprenticeships
  • Wales - Foundation Modern Apprenticeships, Skillbuild or Skillbuild+
  • Northern Ireland - Access or Training for Success: Professional and Technical Training

If your child is 16 or 17 and has left full-time education or training

Tax credits payments usually stop on 31 August after your child's 16th birthday. But you maybe able to get tax credits for up to20 weeks instead. The 20 weeks start from the date they left the education or training.

To qualify for these extra weeks, your child needs to be aged 16 or 17 and be registered with any of the following:

  • in England -the local careers service or Connexions
  • in Scotland or Wales - the local careers service
  • in Northern Ireland - the Department for Employment and Learning or an Education or Library Board
  • the Ministry of Defence, for example if your child joins HM Forces
  • a similar organisation to others in this list in any European Economic Area (EEA)country

You must let the Tax Credit Office know within three months of your child leaving education or training that they have registered with any of these organisations. If you don't, you wont be able to get the extra money.

EEA countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

If your child starts work or goes on benefits

Your tax credits payments will stop straight away if one of the following applies:

  • your child leaves full-time education or approved training, works 24 hours or more a week and gets paid
  • your child goes on benefits or starts getting tax credits

But your payments can continue if your child works and both of the following apply:

  • your child stays in full-time education or training - as long as it qualifies for tax credits
  • your child must have applied, been accepted for or started their course before the age of 19

Keeping the Tax Credit Office up to date

Tell the Tax Credit Office within one month if your child:

  • leaves full-time education or approved training before 31 August after their 16th birthday
  • starts training that's provided as part of their job
  • gets a paid job and they're usually paid to work for 24 hours or more a week
  • starts to claim benefits or tax credits in their own right

If you don't report these changes, you might be paid too much tax credits. If the Tax Credit Office does overpay you, you'll usually have to pay the money back. They may also charge you a penalty.

Tell the Tax Credit Office within three months if your child:

  • stays on at school or college after they reach 16
  • starts an approved training course after they reach 16
  • stops full-time education but registers with a careers service - like Connexions

If you don't, youllonly get tax credits for them until 31 August after their 16th birthday.

Contact the Tax Credit Office

If you need more help or to report a change of circumstances, you can call theTax Credit Helpline on0845 300 3900, or textphone 0845 300 3909 if you are deaf or have ahearing or speech impairment(open from 8.00 am to 8.00 pmevery dayexcept Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day).

If you're calling from overseas you can also contact the Tax Credit Office on +44 289 053 8192.

  • The cost of contacting 08 and 03 telephone numbers

More useful links

  • Tax credits: changes you need to report and when
  • Repaying overpaid tax credits

Provided by HM Revenue and Customs

This content is subject to Crown Copyright

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