Working Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit


Part 1: Overview

You could get Working Tax Credit if:

  • you’re aged 16 or over
  • you work a certain number of hours a week
  • you get paid for the work you do (or expect to)
  • your income is below a certain level

The basic amount of Working Tax Credit is up to £1,920 a year – you could get more (or less) depending on your circumstances and income.

Use the tax credit calculator to work out how much you could get.

You can apply for Working Tax Credits even if you don’t have children or you’re on leave or about to start a new job.


Part 2: What you’ll get

You get a basic amount and extra (known as ‘elements’) on top of this.

How much you get depends on things like your circumstances and income.

The basic amount is up to £1,920 a year.

Element Amount
You’re a couple applying together Up to £1,970 a year
You’re a single parent Up to £1,970 a year
You work at least 30 hours week Up to £790 a year
You have a disability Up to £2,855 a year
You have a severe disability Up to £1,220 a year (on top of the disability payment)
You pay for approved childcare Up to £122.50 (1 child) or £210 (2 or more children) a week

Use the tax credit calculator to work out how much you could get.

How you’re paid

Money is paid directly into your bank or building society account, every week or 4 weeks.

If you’re a couple, you must choose one account.

Usually, you’re paid from the date of your claim up to the end of the tax year (5 April).

If your circumstances change

Your tax credits can go up or down if your family or work life change – you must report these changes to the Tax Credit Office. For example, you start a new job or you’re laid off work.


Part 3: Eligibility

Eligibility depends on your age and how many hours of paid work you do a week. Your income and circumstances will also affect how much you get.

Use the tax credit questionnaire to check if you qualify.

Your age

You must be 16 or over to qualify.

Hours you work

You must work a certain number of hours a week to qualify.

Circumstance Hours a week
25 to 59 At least 30 hours
60 or over At least 16 hours
Disabled At least 16 hours
Single with 1 or more children At least 16 hours
Couple with 1 or more children Usually, at least 24 hours* (with 1 of you working at least 16 hours)

*There are exceptions to the 24 hour rule, use the tax credit calculator to check if you work the right number of hours.

A child should be under 16 (or under 20 if they’re in approved education or training).

You can apply for Working Tax Credits if you’re on leave or about to start a new job in the next 7 days.

Your pay

The work must last at least 4 weeks and must be paid. This can include payment in kind (eg farm produce for a farm labourer) or where you expect to be paid for the work.


The following doesn’t qualify as paid work:

  • money from a ‘Rent a Room’ scheme
  • money paid for work done while in prison
  • money paid to you as part of an Employment Zone Programme

Your income

There’s no set limit for income because it depends on your circumstances (and those of your partner). For example, £18,000 for a couple without children or £13,000 for a single person without children – but it can be higher if you have children, pay for approved childcare or one of you is disabled.

Use the tax credit calculator to check if your income is too high for tax credits.


Part 4: How to claim

If you’re new to tax credits, contact the Tax Credit Helpline for a claim form. It takes up to 2 weeks to arrive.

If you’re already claiming tax credits you don’t need a claim form – just call the helpline to update your claim.

Tax Credit Helpline

Telephone: 0345 300 3900
Textphone: 0345 300 3909
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm

What you need to know

You can claim at any time of the year and up to 7 days before starting a new job.

You apply for Child and Working Tax Credits on the same claim form.

You have to renew your claim once a year.

To support your claim, keep records about your income, bills, payslips, benefits, tax credits, child care and your child’s education.


Part 5: Further information

Leave and gaps in your employment

You can get Working Tax Credits for periods when you don’t work. For example, you:

  • go on maternity leave
  • get sick pay
  • are in between jobs

You’re entitled to the tax credits for a certain period of time providing you qualify.

Circumstance Period you get tax credits for
You lose or leave your job For 4 weeks
You’re on maternity leave For the first 39 weeks of your leave
You’re on adoption leave For the first 39 weeks of your leave
You’re on paternity leave For the period of your ordinary paternity leave
You’re on additional paternity leave Up to the equivalent 39th week of your partner’s leave
You’re off sick Up to 28 weeks
You’re on strike For the first 10 days
You’re laid off work For 4 weeks after you’re laid off or the lay off becomes indefinite
You’re suspended from work – eg because of a complaint Usually the period of suspension

Qualifying rules

To qualify, you must:

  • have been in paid work
  • have worked the right number of hours before you go on leave or the gap happens
  • have got Statutory Sick Pay or an equivalent benefit if you were on sick leave

You’ll still qualify if you were self employed and you would have been eligible for Statutory sick pay or an equivalent benefit if you weren’t self employed.

The equivalent benefits are National Insurance Credit (incapacity for work element), Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support (incapacity for work element).

What you need to do

Report any changes to your work or family life to the Tax Credit Office to make sure you get paid the right amount of tax credit.


Other relevant links

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