Child Tax Credit (CTC) explained

Child Tax Credit (CTC) explained

If you are responsible for a child you may be entitled to Child Tax Credit (CTC). In this guide you can find out who qualifies and how to apply for CTC.

Written by Abigail Montrose on 26 August 2013

Get started now

Regular savings
recommended by MoneySupermarket

Provider AER
West Brom Building Society 3.3% More
Teachers Building Society 2.8% * More
Furness Building Society 2.55% More
Leek United Building Society 2.25% More
Buckinghamshire Building Society 2% More
* includes bonus

Watch the short demo

Click here to watch the video

What is Child Tax Credit (CTC)?

Child Tax Credit (CTC) is a tax-free state benefit for people who are responsible for one or more children and whose income is below certain limits. You do not have to work to receive CTC and you do not have to be the child's parent. If you qualify for CTC you may also be entitled to Working Tax Credit (WTC). From 1 October 2013 onwards, Child Tax Credit is being progressively replaced by Universal Credit instead.

Who can claim CTC?

You can usually claim Child Tax Credit for:

  • a new baby. Make your claim as soon as you can after the baby is born as the Tax Credit Office will backdate your payment no more than one month. If you claim after this you may lose some CTC.
  • any child who lives with you, until 31 August after their 16th birthday.
  • children under 20 if they are in full-time education or approved training such as 'A' levels or a Programme Led Apprenticeship.

The amount of CTC you get will depend on your personal circumstances. As a very rough guide, you might not be able to get CTC if:

  • you have one child and your annual income is more than around £23,800*
  • you have two children and your annual income is more than around £30,400*.

But it's important to note that this is only a very rough guide and you might well qualify for CTC if your income is more especially if you are working. use the calculator to see how much you might get.

CTC if you're not the child's parent

You can claim CTC if you are responsible for a child. This may be because they usually live with you, they keep their toys, clothes etc at your home, and/or you pay for their meals and give them pocket money.

CTC for adoptive and foster parents

If you have adopted or foster a child through your local authority, you can claim CTC as long as you don't get any money for the child from your local authority or Health and Social Services Board. If you do, then contact the Tax Credit helpline (see details below) for advice.

CTC if your child lives with more than one person

Only one lot of CTC can be claimed per child. So if a child sometimes lives with you and sometimes with someone else, you'll need to decide between you who claims CTC. If you can't agree, then the Tax Credit Office will decide.

If your child does not live with you, you can't claim CTC even if you pay maintenance for the child.

CTC for children living outside the UK

You may be able to claim CTC for your child if you live in the UK and any of the conditions listed below apply.

  • You come from a European Economic Area (EEA) country and are working or looking for work in the UK.
  • Your child usually lives with you but spends some time abroad such as at a school overseas.
  • Your partner is a Crown Servant posted overseas and your child lives with them.

If both you and your child live abroad you usually are not entitled to CTC but you can check with the Tax Credits Office.

Extra CTC for children with disabilities

If you have or are responsible for a child with a disability, you may be entitled to extra CTC. This will apply if you receive Disability Living Allowance for children or if they are or were registered blind in the 28 weeks before you make your claim.

Where to find out more

For more information on CTC, contact the HMRC Tax Credit Helpline on 0845 300 3900.

*Initially, your claim is based on your income for the previous tax year. Once your income for the current tax year is known, your claim is finalised and may be revised up if your income this year is over £2,500 less than it was last year or down if your income is over £5,000 more than it was last year.


Other guides which might interest you

Get started now