Child Benefit: The lowdown
Understanding why you should apply for your Child Benefit as soon as possible
Updating HMRC is probably at the bottom of your to-do list when you’re expecting a baby. We can understand that. But it’s important to know about your Child Benefit entitlements.
What is Child Benefit?
You can claim Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they’re in approved education or training).
Child Benefit is paid at a weekly rate of £20.70 for the first child and £13.70 for each additional child. But did you know there is more to the benefit than the payments?
Filling out the claim form will mean you can protect your state pension by helping you to get National Insurance credits until your child turns 12. If you are on maternity leave or take a break from work to look after your child, or do not earn enough to pay National Insurance contributions, Child Benefit can help you qualify for these credits so you don’t miss out.
Only one person can claim Child Benefit for a child. For couples with one person not working or paying National Insurance contributions, something as simple as making the claim in their name will help protect their State Pension.
Claiming Child Benefit will also help your child get their National Insurance number automatically at 16.
High Income Child Benefit Charge
You may have heard of the ‘High Income Child Benefit Charge’ - it’s a tax charge which applies to anyone with an income over £50,000, who claims Child Benefit or whose partner claims it. Don’t let this put you off from completing the form.
Even if you do have to pay the tax charge, you could still be better off by claiming Child Benefit. The charge increases gradually for people with incomes between £50,000 and £60,000. The tax is 1% of Child Benefit for each £100 of income over £50,000. If your income is over £60,000 the total HICBC will be equal to the Child Benefit you receive.
You can use the Child Benefit tax calculator to work out how much tax charge you may have to pay.
To pay the charge, the person with the highest income must complete a Self-Assessment tax return.
Alternatively, you can opt out of receiving Child Benefit payments when you complete the form, so you won’t have to pay the charge but will still protect your State Pension.
Completing the form
It is important that you complete the form as soon as possible after the birth of your child as Child Benefit can only be backdated 3 months. You can find a copy of the Child Benefit form in the Bounty pack or on GOV.UK.