Child Benefit Tax Return Guide

If you’re a high earner and claim child benefit you need to complete a Self Assessment tax return.

If you earn over £60,000 and claim Child Benefit, you have to declare this on your self assessment tax return.

HMRC call this the high income child benefit tax charge and it means you won’t be entitled some or all of the child benefit.

This guide explains what you need to do, and when to do it. It’s important to make sure you declare your child benefit income on your tax return correctly and on time or you could face a penalty.

Should I be declaring Child Benefit on my tax return?

You should declare your Child Benefit if in the tax year of your claim:

  • Your personal income is £60,000 or more.
  • Your partner’s income is £60,000 or more but your income is higher than theirs.

If your partner’s income is over £60,000 but yours is less, your partner needs to declare the Child Benefit on their tax return. A tax return should not be necessary if you earn below the £60,000 threshold.

The previous HICB charge threshold was set at £50,000 and was in place up to the end of the 23/24 tax year which ended on the 5 April 2024.

How to declare the high income child benefit tax charge

If you’ve not complete a self-assessment tax return before, you need to register to do this.

Fill in the SA1 Registering for Self Assessment form online which you can on the HMRC website.

HMRC will then set you up with a self assessment record and then you can start the process of completing the tax return either online or by post.

I’ve already registered for self assessment, what’s next?

Use the Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) that you received from HMRC to submit your tax return online.

Sending it online can save a lot of time and reduces the risk of important information getting lost in the post.

Another benefit of sending in online is that you have until 31 January each year to submit your return. The postal deadline is three months earlier.

If you want the High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge included in your tax code (rather than paying for it separately) you need to complete your return online by 30th December.

What you need to declare on your child benefit tax return

From the 2013/2014 tax year and beyond you need to declare the total amount of Child Benefit received for all children in the tax year of your claim.

If you’re not sure how much you received you can ask HMRC or you can check your bank statements for payments received in the period from 6 April to the following 5 April.

Help with filling in your child benefit tax return

The completion of a self assessment tax return for the declaration of the child benefit tax charge should be relatively straight forward.

If it’s the only reason you need to complete a tax return all you should need to enter is your employment information from your P60 and the total child benefit received and for how many children you claimed for.

There is a box on the tax return to enter an end date to claiming the child benefit.

If you no longer want to claim the child benefit moving forward you should enter the end date and this should mean you will not be asked to complete another tax return because of the higher rate child benefit tax charge.

If you need support with completing your child benefit return you can contact HMRC directly or you can ask for help from an accountant.

Should I claim child benefit if I earn over £50,000?

The amount of child benefit you are entitled to decreases after you earn £60,000. When you reach the £80,000 limit you lose any entitlement to the child benefit completely.

For this reason it is worth questioning whether it is worth you claiming the child benefit moving forward. Only you can answer this question taking into consideration you (and your partners if relevant) circumstances.

It is possible that you have to pay so much or all of the child benefit back because of the high income child benefit tax charge that it is not worth claiming the benefit to start with.

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