Our calculations should help you work out how much tax credit you might be entitled to in the current tax year


Working tax credit elements

If you have a job (this includes being self-employed), and you’re on a low income, you could qualify for working tax credit.

You’ll receive the basic tax credit element up to £2,070 a year, and then any additional elements that you qualify for on top of this.

Element Amount
Basic payment £2,070 a year
A couple applying together Up to £2,125 a year
A single parent Up to £2,125 a year
Work at least 30 hours a week Up to £860 a year
Disability Up to £3,345 a year
Severe disability Up to £1,445 a year
Approved childcare Up to £175 a week for one child; up to £300 a week for two or more children
  • Working tax credit basic element. This is always included if you’re considered to be on a low income and qualify for working tax credit.
  • Working tax credit couple/second adult element. This is if you’re a couple making a joint claim.
  • Working tax credit 30-hour element. If you work at least 30 hours a week you’ll be paid extra. Couples with children can combine their working hours to meet the 30-hour threshold, as long as one partner works at least 16 hours a week. Only one element will be paid, even if both partners work more than 30 hours a week.
  • Working tax credit childcare element. This helps with childcare costs. You have to use an approved childcare provider, and not all costs are covered.
  • Working tax credit disability element. You’ll be eligible for this if you work at least 16 hours a week and have a disability that puts you at a disadvantage for getting a job and receive a qualifying benefit. If you’re in a couple and both of you qualify, you’ll receive two disability elements.
  • Working tax credit severe disability element. This is for those who receive the highest rate of disability living allowance, armed forces independence payment, the enhanced rate daily living component of personal independence payment or higher rate attendance allowance. You do not need to be working to receive the severe disability element.


Child tax credit elements

If you’re responsible for a child, you may qualify for child tax credits. It’s possible to qualify for working tax credits and child tax credits at the same time, depending on your circumstances.

If your family is receiving Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, you will automatically receive the full amount of child tax credit that you qualify for, depending on the number of children you have and whether any of them have a disability.

You’ll also receive extra tax credits if you have two children, rather than one. But if one or more of your children were born after 6 April 2017, you won’t get any further credits if you have more than two children.

This is referred to as the ‘two-child limit’. There are some exceptions to this, such as in the case of multiple births or if a child you’re looking after has a child.

You may get the family element of child tax credits if at least one of your children was born before 6 April 2017.

If all of your children were born before 6 April 2017, you’ll get the child element of child tax credit for all of your children, and you’ll also get the ‘family element’ basic amount.

Child tax credit elements Maximum amount paid
Family element – the basic element for families with one or more children £545
Child element – one for each child or young person £2,935
Disability element – one for each child you are responsible for with a registered disability £3,545
Severe disability element – one for each child you are responsible for who receives the Highest Rate Care Component of Disability Living Allowance £1,430

Below we explain each element:

  • Child tax credit child element. This is included for each child born before 6 April 2017. For those born afterwards, a child element is only included for two children or less, with a few exceptions for multiple births, or if your child is caring for a child.
  • Child tax credit child disability element. There is a rate for a disabled child, as well as a severely disabled child rate. Which one you get depends on the circumstances of the child in your care.
  • Child tax credit family element. Each family will be given one family element if there is a child or children born before 6 April 2017. This is not included if the child or children are all born after this date.

Once you add up all of the elements that you qualify for, you’ll reach your ‘maximum credit amount’.



Reasons why your tax credits might be reduced

You might receive the maximum amount of all the elements you qualify for, but there are a number of reasons why it might be reduced.

1. You’re making a claim part-way through the tax year

You’ll need to take the time of year into account.

Tax credits are calculated by tax year, which runs from 6 April to 5 April the following year.

If you’re applying for tax credits in January, for example, you’ll be paid for the remaining days up until 5 April.

So, once you’ve worked out your maximum payment, and taken away the ‘reduction due to income’, you should divide that number by 365 – this will give your daily rate.

Then you should multiply your daily rate by the number of days left in the tax year. If your claim starts on 1 January, for example, there are only 95 days until the end of the tax year, so you’d need to multiply your daily rate by 95.

This will give the amount of money you might receive in tax credits until the end of the tax year.

Once the new tax year begins, you’ll probably be asked to renew your tax credits, when they’ll be recalculated for a full year.

2. Money will be reduced due to your salary

There are different income limits for each type of tax credit. If you earn over a certain amount, you’ll be paid less in tax credits; this is called ‘reduction due to salary’.

If you claim working tax credit, you can earn up to £6,770 a year – either from being employed or self-employed – and you can receive your maximum payment.

If you earn more than this amount, you’ll lose 41p of the maximum amount for every extra £1 you earn.

So, if you earn £7,770 a year, you’ll earn £1,000 extra, which is 41p x 1,000. This means you’ll lose £410 from your maximum payment.

For child tax credits, the maximum salary is £17,005. If you earn more than that, the amount of child tax credit you’ll receive is reduced by 41p for every £1 you earn over this limit.

So, if you earn £20,000, you’ll earn £2,995 over the threshold (£2,995 x 41p is £1,227.95), which is how much child tax credit you’d lose per year.

If you receive both working tax credit and child tax credit, and these deductions apply to you, the maximum amount of each element you receive will be reduced in the following order:

  • working tax credit, excluding any childcare element
  • the childcare element of working tax credit
  • the child elements of child tax credit
  • the family element of child tax credit.

Tax credits calculator

You would be forgiven for having a headache at this point. The truth is it’s difficult for people claiming tax credits to work out how much they are entitled to.

If you are eligible for both working tax credit and child tax credit, you should also take a look at HMRC’s tax credits calculator.

The calculator doesn’t tell you how the award is worked out, but does give you a total amount, based on your income and family circumstances, if you were to make a claim on the day you complete the calculator.

If it looks like you qualify, you’ll be able to order a tax credits claim form.


Renewing your tax credits

The results from the HMRC calculator will be based on what you’ll be paid for the rest of the current tax year, and not a full year.

This will be recalculated in each tax year. To do this, HMRC sends out renewal packs, where you’ll usually have to fill out your latest details and return them.

The packs are sent out between April and June every year, and the deadline for submitting your renewal is 31 July.

You won’t get your first renewal pack until April 2023 if you first claimed tax credits after 6 April 2022.


What if I receive Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is the new government benefits model that’s being gradually rolled out across the UK. This will replace working tax credit and child tax credit, along with a number of other means-tested benefits.

If it has already been introduced in your area, you will not be able to claim tax credits, as your universal credit payment will include money for them, along with any other benefits you’re eligible for, all in one payment.

If you’re not on Universal Credit yet, you can apply and continue to claim tax credit as normal.