Tax credit customers are being reminded by HMRC that they must renew claims by the 31 July deadline or their payments may stop.
Tax credits claimants are also being warned to be vigilant as last year the renewals process triggered more than 22,000 scam or ‘phishing’ emails being sent out by fraudsters in the run up to the renewal deadline.
These emails often advise that an amount of money is due to the claimant and, if they click on a link, they are taken to a fake replica of the HMRC website. They are then asked to provide credit or debit card details or other sensitive information such as passwords. The fraudsters then try to take money from their account.
Nick Lodge, Director General of Benefits and Credits, said:
"HMRC will never ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email. We are committed to your online security but the methods fraudsters use to obtain information are constantly changing, so you need to be alert. Anyone who receives this type of email should send it to firstname.lastname@example.org."
Tax credits are state benefits which are generally available to lower income families. However, entitlement to the credits is significantly increased where individuals pay for childcare or suffer a drop in normal levels of income perhaps due to incurring trading losses or redundancy.
Individuals who have already claimed tax credits for 2012/13 have to finalise their provisional award, which would have originally been based on their 2011/12 income, and let HMRC know of any changes in their circumstances for 2013/14. This procedure is known as the renewals process and renewals packs should be issued to claimants between 19 April and 28 June 2013. The deadline for the submission of tax credit renewals is generally 31 July 2013.
Claimants need to be aware that the payment of tax credits will stop at the end of July if they have not renewed their applications by that date.
If you need any advice on tax or universal credits please do get in touch.