Seems like a long time ago, but way back in January 2013, the UK Government introduced something called the “High Income Child Benefit Charge”.
In a nutshell, this affects individuals where all of the following applies:
What does this mean for me?
Well, the Government seems to think that those earning over this amount and claiming child benefit should hand some or all of it back.
If you or your partner earn between £50,000 to £60,000 and claim the child benefit, that person will have to pay back 1% of child benefit received, for every £100 over £50,000.
If the earnings are above £60,000 for either yourself or your partner, the full amount of child benefit for that year would need to be paid back to HMRC, which can be done via filling out a Self-assessment tax return.
Where both of you are earning over £50,000, the above rules apply to whoever is the higher earner (so be aware, as this could flip between you for each tax year!).
What counts as my earnings?
Another little quirk in the UK tax system. Whilst in the majority of cases, the earnings will be whatever is reported in your P60, if you have income from other sources, its actually your “adjusted net income” that is taken into consideration. This comprises of your total taxable income before personal allowances and any adjustments made for things like Gift Aid donations, so if you have income rental properties or other income subject to tax, it needs to be included in the calculation.
Do I have to claim the Child Benefit?
You don’t have to receive payments for the Child Benefit, if you feel that either you or your partner will just end up paying it back.
However, it is important that you still make a claim to HMRC so it is registered:
You can find more information on this by clicking here.
If you or your partner are already receiving Child Benefit and want to stop them (to avoid the hassle of claiming and repaying), you can do so by calling HMRC or by logging into your Government Gateway account. You can find more details on how to do this by clicking here.
It is worth noting that if earnings are below £60,000 for either person, you should consider claiming the Child Benefit as normal, as you may have to pay back some… or even none at all.
Sounds confusing? Don’t fall foul of HMRC!
If you or your spouse/partner fall into this category, make sure you stay compliant with HMRC and complete a self-assessment tax return.