How Long Does It Take To Update Change Of Circumstances For Tax Credits?

If you are wondering how long it takes to update a change of claimant’s circumstances for their Tax Credit claim at the HMRC, you will find detailed guidance through the following blog post. For a wider perspective of the topic, we will also explore what happens after you report a change in circumstances to the HMRC, especially if you no longer qualify for Tax Credits.

How Long Does It Take To Update Change Of Circumstances For Tax Credits?

Once you report a change of circumstances to the HMRC for your Tax Credits claim, it usually takes them up to 8 weeks to confirm that your record has been updated. 

However, if the HMRC requires additional information from you after you submit your request for a change in circumstances, they will ask you for evidence to support your claim (if you haven’t provided it in your original application). 

Your application for a change in circumstance will then be processed based on when you are able to provide them with the required documents.

The HMRC will send you a letter confirming the change in circumstances or asking you for further details/documents to support your claim; depending on the circumstances. In case of confirming a change in circumstances, you will also be notified of the renewed amount of Tax Credits you can now expect to receive from them. This can be an increase or decrease to your previously claimed amount. 

If you do not receive any communication from the HMRC within 30 days of applying for a change in circumstances that affects your Tax Credits claim, you should contact them to learn about the stage of the process that your application is currently in.

You can contact the HMRC via a telephone call on 0345 300 3900 if you are in the UK or +44 2890 538 192 if you are outside the UK, from Monday to Friday, between 8 am to 6 pm. You can also write to them and post your letter to the following address:

Tax Credit Office

HM Revenue and Customs


United Kingdom

What Happens After Your Report A Change In Circumstances For Tax Credits?

Once you report a change in circumstances for Tax Credits to the HMRC, your claim will be re-evaluated by them. Depending on a change in your income, living conditions, or the addition or deduction of a household member, resulting in an increase or decrease in future Tax Credits payments.

For instance, if your household income has decreased as a result of a reduction in your working hours or a partner moving out, there will be a re-assessment of your income by the HMRC and your Tax Credits payments can increase.

On the other hand, if a change of circumstances indicates that you have overpaid Tax Credits payments to your claim, you will be asked to refund the excess amount or it will be deducted from future payments.

What Should You Do If A Change In Circumstances Makes You Ineligible For Tax Credits?

If a change in circumstances makes you ineligible for a Tax Credits claim, you should check if you can get Universal Credit instead. While Universal Credit is gradually replacing the six legacy benefits including Tax Credits, if you don’t qualify for Tax Credits due to a change in circumstances, you may find it beneficial to apply for a Universal Credit claim.

Some of the situations that can make you potentially ineligible for Tax Credits (but not necessarily for Universal Credit) include the following:

  • your original claim was as a single person and you have started to live with a partner
  • your original claim was as a couple and you are now single 
  • your income has increased by more than £2,500
  • your claim has not been renewed by the given deadline
  • you have been overpaid and not informed the HMRC
  • your child turns 16, 18 or 19 years of age and you fail to inform the HMRC that they are in approved education or training
  • your childcare costs reduce

However, if you apply for Universal Credit while claiming Tax Credits, you will automatically lose your Tax Credits claim; irrespective of whether or not your claim for Universal Credit is approved or not.


The above discussion helps to conclude that it usually takes 8 weeks for a change of circumstances to affect your Tax Credits claim. During this time, you may hear from the HMRC if they need any additional information as evidence to support your claim. Otherwise, you will simply receive a letter from them that confirms the change to your circumstances and how it will affect your future Tax Credits payments.


How to notify changes « Changes of circumstances « How do tax credits work? « Guidance «

Your tax credit renewal questions answered |

Check if a change affects your tax credits – Citizens Advice