A freedom of information request has resulted in the following information being provided about tax credit entitlement and home educating. We have asked for clarification on what ‘previously approved’ means, please scroll down for the response.
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
Thank you for your request, which was received on 21 March 2016, for the following
Would you please clarify that Child Tax Credit is payable to parents of home educated
children until their 16th birthday, and up until their 20th birthday if the home education
commenced prior to the 16th birthday (and is not of an advanced level)?
Would you confirm that the HMRC acknowledges and accepts the following description of
what constitutes a home education?
The Government’s 2007 Elective Home Education Guidance requirements are as follows:
‘3.13 Parents are required to provide an efficient, full-time education suitable to the age,
ability and aptitude of the child. There is currently no legal definition of “full-time”. Children
normally attend school for between 22 and 25 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, but
this measurement of “contact time” is not relevant to elective home education where there is
often almost continuous one-to-one contact and education may take place outside normal
The type of educational activity can be varied and flexible. Home educating parents are not
teach the National Curriculum
provide a broad and balanced education
have a timetable
have premises equipped to any particular standard set hours during which education will
take place have any specific qualifications make detailed plans in advance observe school
hours, days or terms give formal lessons mark work done by their child formally assess
progress or set development objectives reproduce school type peer group socialisation
match school-based, age-specific standards. ‘
If the parent fails to provide a suitable education a school attendance order will be served,
and the child must attend school.
The HMRC states that for entitlement to Child Tax Credit the education must be full time with
more than 12 hours of supervised study. Does the HMRC accept that if a parent is home
educating within the above Government guidance then they also fit the description of
entitlement to Child Tax Credit?
As outlined in the Tax Credits Technical Manual (at TCTM 02230
http://internal.active.hmrci/manual/tax-credits-technical-manual/tctm02230), Child Tax Credit
is payable to families bringing up children until their 16th birthday, and can continue up to
their 20th birthday if they remain in full-time non-advanced education (up to A-level or
equivalent) or undertake a course of approved training. This includes full-time non-advanced
education provided at home, providing that the child was receiving home education before
their 16th birthday and the home schooling had previously been approved by the
Commissioners for Revenue & Customs. HMRC accepts that if a parent is home educating
within the government guidance as stated above, the parent would qualify for Child Tax
If you are not happy with this reply you may request a review by writing to HMRC FOI Team,
Room 1C/23, 100 Parliament Street London SW1A 2BQ or email
[email address]. You must request a review within 2 months of the date of this
letter. It would assist our review if you set out which aspects of the reply concern you and
why you are dissatisfied.
If you are not content with the outcome of an internal review, you may apply directly to the
Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner will not usually
consider a case unless you have exhausted the internal review procedure provided by
HMRC. He can be contacted at The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF or by their website at www.ico.org.uk.
CTC is payable in respect of a child until 31 August after their 16th birthday. Thereafter, CTC will generally continue to be payable in respect of a “qualifying young person” up to their 20th birthday provided that the young person either:
• remains in full-time, non-advanced education which is not provided by virtue of a contract of employment. This is defined as education up to A-level/GNVQ level 3 or equivalent, provided at a school or college or, where the young person was receiving that education before the age of 16, elsewhere, if approved by HMRC, where the average time spent during term-time exceeds 12 hours a week; or
• undertakes a course of approved training. This is training which is not part of paid employment and which is provided under arrangements made by the Government.
Up to the age of 16, a child’s parents and the local authority have a duty to ensure that a child has a suitable education under the Education Act 1996. This may be through education taken at school or at home. Until the age of 16, HMRC therefore assumes that this duty is being met. However, once a child turns 16, this duty on the local authority to ensure that a child is undertaking suitable education ceases. This is why, just before the child turns 16, HMRC issues an enquiry form to the person or persons responsible for that child to check their plans for the child’s continuing education.
So, to clarify, claimants are not expected to inform HMRC that they home educate their child when that child is aged between 5-15. However, there is an obligation on claimants to inform HMRC of their plans for the child’s education as the child approaches the age of 16.
Ray Francis | B&C Strategy & Policy
100 Parliament Street, London. SW1A 2BQ