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Higher earners liable for the new high-income child benefit charge who wish to stop receiving child benefit from the start of 2013/14 should notify HMRC before 28 March 2013. Anyone earning over £50,000 who has received child benefit since 7 January 2013 will still need to make a self-assessment return for 2012/13 in respect of the payments.

Full Text

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is today reminding people with an income over £60,000 whose family is still receiving Child Benefit to opt out before 28 March if they wish to avoid filling in a tax return and repaying the benefit for the 2013/14 tax year.

Latest HMRC figures show that over 370,000 people have opted out of Child Benefit since the High Income Child Benefit Charge was introduced on 7 January. Those who have already stopped their Child Benefit payments do not need to act.

People who continued to receive Child Benefit after January need to register for Self Assessment by 5 October 2013 to repay the benefit received between January and April 2013, but opting out now means they will not need to fill in a tax return in future years.

Lin Homer, Chief Executive at HMRC, said:

“Anyone wanting to opt out of Child Benefit payments can do so at any time. It is really easy – just go to our website. Anyone with an income over £60,000 who has received Child Benefit since January needs to register for Self Assessment by 5 October to repay some or all of this year’s benefit, but if they opt out now this will be a one-off.”

For people with income of more than £60,000, the tax charge is 100 per cent of the amount of Child Benefit. For income between £50,000 and £60,000, the charge is gradually increased to 100 per cent of the Child Benefit.

The decision to stay in or opt out of receiving Child Benefit payments is not final, and families are free to change their minds. Anyone earning over £50,000 who has received Child Benefit since 7 January 2013 will need to register for Self Assessment and complete a tax return for that period, regardless of whether they are now opting out.

For more information go to www.hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefitcharge.

Notes for editors

1. The High Income Child Benefit Charge was introduced on 7 January and affects families where someone has an income over £50,000. These families have two options: either to stop receiving Child Benefit payments, or to pay back some or all of the payments they receive through the tax system. Customers with income over £60,000 may wish to stop getting Child Benefit payments as the tax charge will be equal to the amount of Child Benefit. Customers with income between £50,000 and £60,000 may wish to keep getting Child Benefit payments as the tax charge will be less than the Child Benefit received.

2. A family claiming Child Benefit, where at least one parent earns over £50,000, will need to complete Self Assessment returns in future years. The deadline for registering for Self Assessment for the 2012/13 tax year is 5 October 2013.

3. If Child Benefit payments are stopped from the end of March 2013, no payments will be made for the tax year 2013/14. Only one Self Assessment return for the tax year 2012/13 will need to be completed (if the High Income Child Benefit Charge is the only reason for being in Self Assessment). Payment of Child Benefit for the 13 weeks from 7 January to 5 April for two children will be £438 and this amount will have to be declared on a tax return by 31/1/14.

4. Only the Child Benefit recipient can stop Child Benefit payments. The Child Benefit recipient is, in most cases, the mother of the child(ren).

5. An advertising campaign will run from 10 March until 17 March and involves national press. Adverts can be viewed on flickr.

6. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk

7. HMRC’s flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk