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Tax Credits and Home Education

HMRC home education

There is no need to inform the Tax Credits office that you are Home Educating as all children under 16 (until the June of what would be their year 11) are entitled to it (income dependent).

Tax credits do not appear to be making contact anymore as your child approaches 16 years of age/end of school year 11. We strongly suggest that before the end of August you contact them to inform them your child is staying in education, you can do it online.

Compulsory school age ends in the June of year 11 or in Scotland if your child’s 16th birthday falls on or between 1 March and 30 September they can leave school in the May of that year. If their birthday falls between October and February, they can leave at the start of the winter holidays., therefore benefits will naturally stop unless they are notified your child is staying in education, this includes Home Education.

You would need to say ‘We are continuing with Home Education, it is full time, none advanced and supervised. We are eligible for Child Benefit as X is still in full time education.’ If you run into any issues please refer them to the FOI and their own rules

Post 16 with SEN

There has been an update to the eligibility criteria, this now includes being able to claim if you start Home Educating post 16 and your child has special needs. Your post 16 child can be removed from school and you will now be entitled to Tax Credits and Child Benefit if they have a statement of their needs, being known to the EHE team is beneficial in this situation. Please read the FOI for further information.

The change means that, where a young person with a disability or SEN starts Home Education after the age of 16 and that young person meets certain conditions, the parents or guardians of that young person can continue to receive Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit.
The legislation requires that a statement of special educational needs is to be provided and a local authority has assessed a programme of home education as suitable for that person’s special needs, in order to satisfy this condition.

What constitutes a statement?

This is really going to be down to your LA, we assume the Tax Credits and Child Benefit teams will accept anything such as EHCP, a literal statement from the SEN or EHE team or similar.

(8) In this regulation “a statement of special educational needs” means a statement, plan or assessment made by a local authority, which identifies and assesses the special educational needs of a person and specifies the special educational provision required by that person.

Quote regarding Tax Credits

As outlined in the Tax Credits Technical Manual at TCTM 02230
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 Alevel 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 Credit.  

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.

So, to clarify, claimants are not expected to inform HMRC that they home educate their child when that child is aged between 5-15/16 (end of year 11). 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.

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Info regarding proposed new EHE (England) guidance

There is a government consultation about proposed new EHE (England) guidance. We will be producing a guide ASAP to help you respond, so no need to rush in.