HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 c865W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assistance is available to help low income families with their tax credit claims. [125353]

Dawn Primarolo

[holding answer 15 July 2003]: A range of measures is available.

Personal callers to Inland Revenue offices can make a claim to tax credits, as well as getting face-to-face help and advice, from any inland revenue inquiry centre. Jobcentre Plus customers can also get help, advice and make claims through Jobcentre Plus offices.

For those customers who prefer to make a paper claim, there is a single simple form for claiming both working tax credit and child tax credit supplemented by comprehensive—plain language—guidance.

A telephone helpline (GB: 0845 300 3900; NI: 0845 603 2000) is available 8am to 8pm every day (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day and Easter Sunday). A dedicated helpline is available for those with hearing or speech difficulties.

A range of explanatory leaflets is available covering the tax credits scheme in general, other help that may be available and further information about help with child care costs. These leaflets—and the paper claim form and guidance are available in large print and Braille versions as well as in a number of languages other than English.

By visiting the Inland Revenue website (www. inlandrevenue.gov.uk/taxcredits), families—whatever their income or circumstances—can quickly establish whether they qualify for tax credits and obtain an indication of the amount of any potential award. Claims, and subsequent changes of circumstances, can be submitted online and answers to a wide range of frequently asked questions are also available on the site.

The Inland Revenue is also piloting new ways of working with intermediary organisations and local community groups to provide assistance with claims. At the same time, Jobcentre Plus offices are making sure their customers are aware of the help they can get, through the working tax credit, as they move into work.