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Child Benefit

Question for Treasury

UIN HL6977, tabled on 15 March 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Office of Tax Simplification OTS evaluation note: Update on OTS work on the High Income Child Benefit Charge and its wider implications, published on 1 March; and in particular, (1) the criticisms of the progress on recommendations made to improve the working of the high income child benefit charge, and (2) the further recommendations contained in that report.

Answered on

24 March 2022

The High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) ensures that support for families is targeted at those who need it most. The Government is grateful to the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) for their suggestions for how the individual’s experience of child benefit and HICBC could be improved.

The OTS acknowledge that HMRC has made progress following their “Simplifying everyday tax for smaller businesses” and “Life events review: simplifying tax for individuals” reports from 2019, including by improving the child benefit form to ensure that it is clear that the form should be completed, even where the parents may wish to opt out of getting child benefit payments. HMRC has also undertaken customer research to explore child benefit claimants’ understanding of HICBC, benefits of claiming and the reasons why some do not make a claim.

HMRC has also taken considerable steps to raise awareness of HICBC. It currently shares information via social media, through third parties such as websites aimed at parents or families, and on GOV.UK. HMRC also writes to around 70,000 customers each year to remind them what they need to do to pay HICBC.

The OTS’ findings will continue to inform HMRC’s ongoing work.

Answered by

Treasury