Child Benefit used to be a universal benefit available to all parents however, as of 7th January 2013 it became means-tested. Child benefit is now withdrawn gradually once one person in a household earns £50,000. The rate of withdrawal is 1% of child benefit for every £100 earned over £50,000, resulting in total withdrawal once earnings of £60,000 have been achieved.
Unless parents opted to stop receiving child benefit, the deadline for which was 6th January 2013, they have continued to receive it. However, those earning over £50,000 per annum who didn't opt out will pay a tax charge via self assessment which effectively means that they repay part of their child benefit. Anyone earning over £60,000 will repay their entire child benefit.
The option of opting out was introduced so that people were not forced to register for tax self assessment and go through the administration headache to simply repay child benefit they were not entitled to. Those who didn't opt out, so received child benefit in the 2012/13 tax year, and are affected by the £50,000 limit must register for self assessment by 5th October 2013. So time is running out.
Failure to register for self assessment and submit a tax return can lead to a fine and penalty from HMRC. So if you are affected make sure you register for self assessment via the link below.
- How to register for self assessment
- Child Benefit changes explained
- Claiming child benefit can help protect your state pension
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