Child Benefit penalties

Good news for those who paid Child Benefit penalties

We wouldn’t blame you for thinking we’re sometimes a little negative. We seem to be forever warning you of this, bringing you bad news of that. But not today. In this blog, we have good news. Unusually, HMRC has announced a policy U-turn. It’s aimed at taxpayers, earning over £50,000, who claim child benefit.

The same rules applied to higher earners in families where someone else received child benefit for a child living with them and contributed at least an equal amount towards the child’s upkeep.

After registering, individuals had the choice of either opting out and not receiving child benefit or paying the charge. If they failed to do so, they’d be penalised to the tune of £100.

HMRC has announced that it’s reviewing those cases where people were penalised for failing to register for the HICBC. The review applies to the tax years 2013/14, 2014/15, and 2015/16.

Provided they had a reasonable excuse for not registering, they’d receive a refund.

Until now, the onus has been on the individuals to provide the evidence and submit a refund claim. However, following feedback, HMRC have decided to proactively review the cases themselves.

Critically, this arrangement will include families who made a claim for child benefit before the charge was introduced, and where one partner’s income subsequently increased to over £50,000 in or after the 2013 to 2014 tax year. This is because the higher earner in a household who pays the charge may not be the same person claiming child benefit on behalf of the household.

The review will not include anyone who received communications from HMRC about HICBC or claimed child benefit after the charge was introduced in 2012/13.

Refunds are on their way!

So as to help them avoid paying a penalty, HMRC is already writing to taxpayers who might be liable to the charge in 2016/17 and 2017/18.

An HMRC spokesperson explained, ‘HMRC is listening to customers and stakeholders and reviewing our approach to HICBC to ensure we are treating everyone fairly.

‘Customers do not need to ask for a penalty refund or contact HMRC. We will issue the refunds, where due, over the next six months.’

Do you think you might qualify for a refund on past payments of HICBC? We’re the Tax Appeal Experts. If you’re in any doubt at all, talk to us. Call 020 3008 7820. We’d love to hear from you. After all – we’re here to help.

We’re here to help.


This legal information is not the same as legal advice and you may not rely on our post as a recommendation of any particular legal understanding. Please, consult an attorney if you’d like to get advice on your interpretation of this article.

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