Paul Brides discusses changes to Child Benefit rules, due to come in to effect on 7th January 2013.

Child Benefit is currently a tax free payment made available to married couples, civil partnerships and single partnerships as well as certain other eligible adults, regardless of the amount of their annual income.

Parents can claim for Child Benefit between the child’s date of birth and their 16th birthday (or 20th birthday when still in full-time ‘non-advanced’ education or ‘approved’ training). The current weekly rates are £20.30 for the eldest child and £13.50 per week for other children.

The changes to the rules mean that if a member of the household receives more than £50,000 annual income they will then lose some or all of their eligibility to Child Benefit. Here’s a short summary of how the changes will work:

  • If a household member earns more than £50,000 per year, a claw-back of Child Benefit will operate equal to 1% of the benefit received for every £100 of income between £50,000 and £60,000.
  • Child Benefit is withdrawn completely when annual income reaches £60,000. (Income reduced from announcement prior to the 2012 Budget).
  • When completing a claw-back calculation, the income of the highest earning household member must be used.
  • When both spouses earn below £50,000 per annum then no claw-back will operate even if their combined income exceeds £60,000.
  • Self Assessments tax returns must be completed to notify HMRC of income.

These changes are likely to result in more taxpayers having to complete Self Assessment tax returns each year.

There is also an option to not receive Child Benefit for those who do not wish to pay the new income tax charge, although these people are urged to continue to make claims for any new children even though they will not receive any Child Benefit payments for them. This is because for each week of entitlement to Child Benefit, individuals could qualify for National Insurance credits which could help protect future entitlement to State Pension.

For more information contact Group Tax Compliance Manager PAUL BRIDES on 0161 703 2500 or e-mail