HMRC warning: Child Benefit to stop being paid into accounts – act now

Martin Lewis explains who is eligible for Child Benefit

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From December 1, 2021, the tax body will stop making payments of Child Benefit, Guardian’s Allowance and tax credits, into Post Office card accounts. Ahead of this date, HMRC is alerting claimants of these benefits to act now so they still get their money on time if they have their account set up via the Post Office. Anyone who currently receives any tax credits, Guardian’s Allowance of Child Benefit has until November 30, 2021 to set up a new account elsewhere. Furthermore, they must notify HMRC as soon as possible once this change is made.

HMRC also noted that any suspended payments will be held and then paid to the customer once they notify the tax body of their new banking details. It is also possible for former Post Office customers to have their Child Benefit payments transferred to an alternative account under their name which is with another institution. However, benefit claimants are encouraged to set up a new account with a bank, credit union or building society if they do not have another arrangement already in place. All Post Office customers preparing to switch can use their Personal Tax Account to give HMRC their revised account details.

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Since October 2019, HMRC has been warning affected Post Office customers that their card accounts will be closing. Last month, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced a 12 month extension for claimants who have a Post Office card account. However, this particular extension is only for benefit recipients who get their payments directly from the DWP. Claimants of DWP benefit schemes will be moved onto a new Payment Exception Service, which allows them to choose how they receive their payments.


The reasoning behind the DWP’s extension is due to how claimants have been adversely impacted by the pandemic. Guy Opperman, the Government’s Minister for Pensions explained the department’s reasoning last month. Mr Opperman said: “Whilst the vast majority of pensions and benefits are paid directly into peoples’ bank accounts, some people prefer to collect their payments over the counter at their local Post Office. This extra time means we can support our most vulnerable customers to move to the payment method that will suit them best – even if that means making sure they can still get cash via the Post Office using a card from the new Payment Exception Service.”

However, no such extension has been granted by HMRC to those who receive either Child Benefit, Guardian’s Allowance or tax credits. Child Benefit customers can change their bank account details via GOV.UK, instead of using their Personal Tax Account, if that is more preferable. Alternatively, claimants will be able to call the Government’s helpline for assistance on 0300 200 3100. Anyone who receives tax credits can update their bank account details by contacting another helpline on 0345 300 3900.

HMRC urges all recipients of Child Benefit to contact them directly if they are unable to open a new bank or building society account. An ordinary current account is the most preferred option when switching from the Post Office card account. All current Post Office customers have less than two months to make this transition before HMRC’s Child Benefit payment changes come into effect.

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