Friday 1 February 2019

Finance Fridays – Claiming child benefit

We were looking at completing your tax return for last week's Finance Fridays. This week we are talking about something else that is mentioned on self-assessment forms – child benefit. It used to be a universal benefit but there are now restrictions to it but is it still worth claiming?

When your baby arrives your first thought may not be to do some paperwork. However if you don't sort out your claim for child benefit you could be missing out on a lot of money – even if you don't think you are eligible.

How to claim – If you have your baby in a hospital there is usually the form in a pack that they give you. If not you can download one from the website. Before you send off you will need to have registered the birth of your child first as you also need to send the original birth certificate with the form. Photocopies are not accepted – this is why I purchased extra copies when I registered my children.

Is there a deadline for completing the form? - Claims can only be backdated for three months so make sure you send it off as soon as you have the birth certificate. It can take several weeks for the form to be processed but if you apply within three months of your child's birth you will receive the full amount.

One of us earns over £50,000 so I don't think I'm eligible – In 2013 a change to child benefit was announced which meant it was no longer an universal benefit. If either you or your partner earn over £50,000 then the amount of child benefit you will receive is either reduced or stopped completely. This is known as High Income Child Benefit tax charge. If your income is between £50,000 and £60,000 then you will lose 1% of your child benefit payments for every £100 you earn above the £50,000 threshold. If you earn over £60,000 the tax charge effectively reduces the child benefit to zero.

So it isn't worth me claiming? - It can be for two reasons. Even if one partner earns over £50,000 the other partner can still receive the full amount of child benefit in their bank account each month. In order to pay back the tax charge it will need to be declared on a self-assessment form.

One of the most important reasons for registering for Child Benefit is that it entitles you to National Insurance credits until your child is 12 years old. If you don't earn enough to pay National Insurance then these credits will go towards your State Pension entitlement. Otherwise you would need to pay either voluntary Class 2 or 3 contributions depending on your circumstances. This could be as much as £15 a week from April.

By registering for Child Benefit it also means that your child will be registered to receive their own National Insurance number when they get to 16.

Do you claim Child Benefit? Did you realise it had other benefits?

If you want to join in with this week's Finance Fridays then add your link to the linky below. Any post concerning financial matters is allowed. Full details here. It doesn't have to be published today as you have until 23.55 on Tuesday 5th February 2019 to join in.

Finance Fridays

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