Working Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit is money provided to boost the income of working people who are on a low income. It does not matter whether you are working for someone else or are self-employed. The main purpose of tax credits is to help families on lower pay make ends meet.

Tax credits are also intended to lift families out of welfare dependency and incentivise people to work – before their introduction, most benefits were withdrawn as soon as someone returned to work.

To get the working tax credit must meet the following conditions which are:

  • be aged 16 or over;
  • be in the UK; and
  • not be subject to immigration control
  • You must also work a certain number of hours each week. The number of hours you need to work varies depending on your age and household circumstances and have an income below a certain level

Generally speaking, you must work at least 30 hours a week, be 25 or older and be earning less than £13,253 if you’re single and childless. Alternatively you must be earning less than £18,023 jointly if you are part of a couple, childless but working at least 30 hours a week.

However, if you are disabled and work or have children, you may be eligible for working tax credit if you earn more than this, provided you’re aged 16 or over and work at last 16 hours a week.

How much is Working Tax Credit

As with child tax credit, WTC is calculated using “elements”. You get whichever elements apply to you and the amount of WTC you actually end up with may be reduced after your income is taken into account. If your income is more than £6,420, this will affect the amount of WTC you can get. Your maximum entitlement to tax credits will be reduced by a percentage of the income you receive over the threshold.

The elements and the yearly amounts from April 2017 are:

  • a basic element (£1960)
  • a couple element (£2010)
  • a lone parent element (£2010)
  • a childcare element (up to 70% of the max eligible cost is included)
  • a 30 hour element (£810)
  • a disabled worker element (£3000)
  • a severe disability element (£1290)


how to claim

If you are making a new claim for Tax Credits, get a claim form by phoning HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Tax Credits Helpline or order a form online.

Telephone: 0345 300 3900

Textphone: 0345 300 3909

Online: Visit the “Get a Tax Credit form” page of the website

If you are already claiming Tax Credits and you need to change your claim, call HMRC on the Tax Credits Helpline or manage your Tax Credits online using the “Manage your Tax Credits online” section of the website.

You have to renew your claim by 31 July every year. If you do not renew it, your Working Tax Credit may stop. See the website for more information on renewing tax credits (link opens in a new window)

You will need:

  • your national insurance number
  • proof of who you are, for example a birth certificate or driving licence.
  • proof of your annual income, for example bank statements or pay slips
  • your partner’s details if they live with you. (including income details)

When to claim

You can claim after starting a new job, at any time of the year.

If you’re on benefits (for example Job Seeker’s Allowance or Income Support) you can usually start claiming 7 days before you start a new job.

A change in Circumstances

Make sure that you tell the tax office about anything that may impact your tax credits. Because your payments are estimated from your earnings from the previous year, you’ll either be overpaid or underpaid if your circumstances change.

In most circumstances, you’ll have to pay back an overpayment and you might get a fine of £300.

You must tell them the following:
Change in status: You move in with a partner, get married, or leave the UK for longer than 8 weeks.
Drop in working hours: You stop working or your hours drop below your threshold.
Change in childcare: If your childcare costs go down or your child leaves home.
Job changes: You change your job or your income goes up or down.
New children: You’ve had a child, or you’ve adopted or started fostering a child.
Childcare costs: You start paying for childcare or your childcare costs go up.
Address change: You move house, bank account or have a new phone number.