New benefits available to families

A CREDIT crunch-busting �1,000 could be available to thousands of families in Suffolk - but only for the next week.

A CREDIT crunch-busting �1,000 could be available to thousands of families in Suffolk - but only for the next week.

People who had children aged under 16 between April 6, 2001 and April 5, 2003 were likely to have been eligible for Children's Tax Credit Relief.

The benefit, which was not means-tested, was worth �529, while families who had a child during the two-year window were also eligible for an extra �520.

Taxpayers who paid higher rate tax at the time were still eligible, but were paid �1 less for every �15 they were taxed at the higher rate.


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Maddie Ratnett, of HM Revenue and Customs Suffolk, said all eligible people would have been sent forms to complete after having a child, but some may not have made their claim.

She said: “There was always a huge take-up rate on it but there are still a few people out there who, despite all the publicity and having forms sent to them, will not have heard about it.

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“We do not think there are that many, but hopefully everybody out there who has not claimed yet will claim it.”

Because unclaimed benefits can be back-dated for five years, people who failed to apply for 2001-02 credit have already missed out, but the 2002/03 tax year is still open - just.

The tax relief was replaced by Child Tax Credit after two years, so this is the last year families can claim - and because tax returns are due on January 31, there is no time to spare.

The benefit comes as a deduction from income tax payments rather than a cash boost, and each family is only allowed one credit per year, even if they have more than one child.

In times of economic hardship, any financial boost is likely to be welcomed by recession-hit families as they prepare their tax forms.

The Revenue has warned people that some agencies are offering to reclaim money on families' behalf, often taking part of the fee for themselves. People are advised to contact the Revenue directly for a free eligibility test.

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