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Don't miss out on child benefit, urge HMRC

By Alan Beresford

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PARENTS in the north-east and across Scotland are being urged to claim child benefit, even if they have not yet been able to register the birth of their new-borns, to ensure they do not miss out.

HMRC Director General of Customer Services Angela MacDonald. Picture: HMRC.
HMRC Director General of Customer Services Angela MacDonald. Picture: HMRC.

Between April and July 2019, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) received 49,637 more new child benefit claims compared to the same period in 2020.

Claims can only be backdated by up to three months, so it is important that new parents claim as soon as they can to receive the maximum support available.

Usually, to claim child benefit parents must register their child’s birth first. However, with many local register offices operating at reduced capacity and some parents unable to go to their local register office because of Covid-19, HMRC announced in April that parents can claim child benefit without having to register their child’s birth first during the pandemic.

First time parents will need to fill in it claim form CH2 found online and send it to the Child Benefit Office. If they have not registered the birth because of Covid-19, they should add a note with their claim explaining this.

If they already claim Child Benefit, they can complete the form or add their new-born’s details over the telephone on 0300 200 3100. They will need their National Insurance number or child benefit number.

Angela MacDonald, Director General for Customer Services, HMRC said: “It’s really important that parents remember to claim Child Benefit, not just for the payments which we hope will provide vital support at this time, but also so they don’t miss out on National Insurance credits that help protect their State Pension.

“In addition, it helps children to get their National Insurance number automatically at 16.

“We are doing all we can to make this as simple and stress free as possible for parents.”

Child benefit payments increased from April 6 to a weekly rate of £21.05 for the first child and £13.95 for each additional child. Child benefit is paid into the claimant's bank account, usually every four weeks.

Only one person can claim child benefit for a child. For couples with one partner not working or paying National Insurance contributions, making the claim in their name will help protect their state pension.

HMRC is also reminding people of the importance of claiming child benefit, even if they choose to opt out of receiving monetary benefits.

A tax charge known as the High Income Child Benefit Charge applies to anyone with an income over £50,000 who gets Child Benefit or whose partner gets it. Even if they have to pay the tax charge, they could still be better off by claiming Child Benefit – the tax is one per cent of child benefit for each £100 of income over £50,000.

The child benefit tax calculator can be used to work out how much a parent may have to pay, or they can opt out of receiving child benefit payments altogether when completing the form, so they will not have to pay the charge but will still protect their state pension.

More news here.

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