Any questions? Will my family still get tax credits if I am a student?
We regularly receive queries via our website. Occasionally we will post them anonymously as ‘question and answer’ news items. Here, we were asked by a school-leaver whether their parents will still receive tax credits if they are a full-time student.
We do not give advice, but we try to signpost sources of further information and support.
Please note – this is posted as a ‘news’ item, which means the information and links are not reviewed and updated. You should not rely on it without checking the full facts of your case with a tax or welfare rights adviser.
Question: I have been accepted on a course starting in September, how will this affect what tax credits my parents will receive?
Answer: Please note that the Tax Guide for Students website is written and run by the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) to provide tax information to students and their advisers. LITRG is an initiative of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) to give a voice to the unrepresented taxpayer.
We do not offer an advice service, but we give below some general information on tax credits and students.
Tax credits are gradually being replaced by universal credit (UC). In areas where the universal credit full service is available, most people can no longer make a fresh claim for tax credits. You can use our online postcode tool to check the position in your area.
Current tax credit claimants who live UC full service area are not affected by the roll-out of UC at the moment unless they:
- have a change of circumstances which means their current tax credit claim ends and they need to make a fresh claim; or
- they need to make a claim for another legacy benefit (such as housing benefit). As new claims for housing benefit are no longer possible in a full service UC for most people, they may need to claim UC which will mean their tax credits will stop.
- they choose to claim UC.
Eventually, the majority of existing tax credit claimants will be moved to UC. It is currently expected that formal migration of existing tax credit claimants to UC will take place between 2019 and 2022. There is more information on UC and students on our website.
In order for parents to continue to receive Child Tax Credits (CTC), they need to continue to be responsible for you and you must be:
- under 20 years old and have started or enrolled on your course before your 19th birthday;
- full-time non-advanced education or;
- in approved training; or
- registered with certain agencies while looking for work or training (including the Ministry of Defence in some cases);
- not claiming certain benefits in your own right.
So if you are starting a course, you need to check whether you are classed as a full-time student in non-advanced education under tax credit rules.
Full time study means that on average you spend at least 12 hours per week during term-time having tuition or performing supervised/ practical work.
Non-advanced education includes working towards qualifications such as:
- an ordinary national diploma;
- a national diploma or national certificate of Edexcel;
- A-levels (AS and A2 levels) or similar qualifications;
- Scottish highers or group awards
- NVQ and other vocational qualifications up to Level 3
- Traineeships as part of the 16-19 Study programmes in England.
As you will see from the above list, this does not include any qualifications which are more advanced than those stated; so if you are going to study for a degree level qualification then you would not be able to be included as part of your parents’ CTC claim.
If your course and hours qualify as non-advanced education, then you should be aware that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will automatically stop any CTC payments relating to you on the 31 August after you turn 16 and again as you turn 18 and 19; so your parents will need to contact HMRC to confirm that you are still a ‘qualifying young person’. The contact details for HMRC tax credits are on the GOV.UK website.
You should also note that similar rules apply for child benefit and if your parents have included you in a claim for child benefit, they will need to notify HMRC’s child benefit office if you are a qualifying young person otherwise payments will stop. The contact details for child benefit are on the GOV.UK website.
There is a section on our website which contains more information on tax credits and benefits for students and more detailed information on tax credits on our main LITRG website; and our factsheet on Apprentices covers tax credits if you are on an apprenticeship.
CTC when your child turns 16 – GOV.UK
Child Benefit when your child turns 16 – GOV.UK