Child Benefit Advice

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meglet | 22:24 Mon 13th Nov 2017 | Body & Soul
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Does anyone have any advice on the following situ? Tax year 16/17 I was working and claiming child benefit for my 3 children. As I earned over the threshold I fully expected to get a self assessment and pay it back through my tax code (I read that it’s best to claim and pay back to ensure full NI benefit). Anyway I lost my job end of March 16 and realised that it would be better to be a stay at home Mum. So, come my next self assessment I will owe all tax year 16/17 child benefit back. However I have no income. I know I have to pay it back and have no problem with that. But as I have no income to adjust a tax code will I have to pay it back in one lump? Or can I spread the payments do you think?


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May we assume a typo in your post? You've told us that you were working (and claiming benefit) during the tax year 16/17 but you then go on to say that you stopped working before the start of that tax year. ("March 16"). I'm guesing that you actually meant March of this year.

Anyway, HMRC will expect you to pay in one lump sum IF you're able to do so. Otherwise, as long as they're convinced that you'll pay up in the end, they'll allow you to pay in instalments (but with interest added).

This link doesn't specifically relate to your circumstances but it still serves to illustrate the general policy that I've referred to:
(See "When you might get more time to pay")

However you might not even be billed. I receive pension credit and (being an honest citizen - well, most of the time, anyway!) I declared some income I received in the past tax year, using the phone number I was told to call (even though I knew that I'd have to pay every penny back, meaning that I'd have effectively worked for nothing). I didn't get a bill at the end of the tax year but, when I later reported some income for the current tax year, I was told that I should have filled a form in at the end of the last tax year (even though they never sent me the form). I've since completed that form and submitted it but, many months later, I've still not received a demand for repayment. I've now reached the stage where, having met my legal obligation to declare my income, I'm not going to complain about the absence of a demand for a refund of my benefit!
I assume you were paid cash in hand or similar, were not paid via a payroll and you had no tax or NI deducted. If so, then if it was just one employer maybe they didn't pay their employer's NI either.
Did you get a P45 when you left- you should have got one i think. If so, HMRC should have details but you could send one to them.

I'm not sure where the child benefit fits in unless your partner also has a good income. It's not taxable except there is a tapering/clawback for high earners once household salary exceeds something like £45000pa
HMRC may say if you underpaid tax you have had the ebenfit of the money for some time so could have put it to one side and so it isn't unreasonable to ask for it back in one go, but maybe you geta year to pay it under self-assessment, or you could ask to spread it- no harm in asking

I assume you mean child tax credits?
You are probably right ummm. This is probably about child tax credits rather than tax allowances/underpayments, NI or child benefit.
This site seems to cover it.
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Hi Ummm and FF. No it’s bog standard child benefit. I earned over the threshold via PAYE in 16/17, and it only takes one person in the household to earn over and it has to be paid back. This is done via self assessment which as a higher rate taxpayer I always seem to have been asked to complete. I would have expected to pay back what was due via my tax code, but that is not now possible!

As you say Chris, I may be lucky and not get a self assessment this year, but if I can pay back in instalments it is worth an ask.
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Sorry , I did mean March of this year.
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And to clarify before anyone asks why I continued to claim, my job was basic plus commission so I would have no clue what’s I would earn until the end of the tax year. I might have not earned over the threshold.
When did child benefit become means tested?
It has been for ages.
I didn’t know that.
Well I too am confused, I thought everyone got child benefit and I've just checked on website and it says you only have to pay back in tax if the higher earner in household gets over £50K??
Yes, it seems meglet's earnings exceeded that Prudie. Sounds as if a l fair chunk of the earnings came as a bit of a surprise in terms of higher than expected commission
So if you've not earned in FY16/17 won't your personal allowance cancel out anything you owe from last year or does it not work like that?
sorry meant not earned this 17/18
Don't think it works like that Prudie

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