Around 9000 tax claimants in Craigavon have been urged to renew their tax credits claim online as soon as possible before the July deadline.
People who don’t renew by the deadline will have their payments stopped so it’s vital they do it as soon as possible, say Her Majesty Revenue and Customs.
And improvements to the online system mean it’s never been so easy.
“For the first time anyone can now renew online, regardless of what changes they have to make. Previously, large numbers of customers had to call us or renew by post. But this is no longer the case and HMRC is urging everyone to beat the queue.
“When customers renew their claim, they must tell HMRC about any changes to their circumstances that they haven’t already reported, including changes to working hours, childcare costs or income.
“Everyone can notify HMRC of these changes on GOV.UK when they receive their pack and renew their claim. The online service has proved very popular, with nearly nine in 10 people using it saying they were happy with the process. On average, it takes 10-20 minutes to renew online, depending on circumstances, but many renew their claim in just 6 minutes.
“A special team is there to support the most vulnerable customers who cannot go online, and some 2,000 people who we know need special support will be proactively contacted by our customer support teams,” said a spokesperson.
Nick Lodge, HMRC’s Director General, Benefits and Credits, said: “This is an exceptionally busy time of the year for HMRC, as millions of people renew their tax credits. Phone lines may be very busy with long wait times possible. Using our online service means that you can renew at any time of the day or night, and on any device, without having to call us at all. Online help can also answer most queries or issues that you may have. We urge everyone who can to go online.
“People in Northern Ireland should check their details and renew early to ensure they get the right money. The sooner people renew their claim, the sooner we can check payments are correct, meaning we avoid paying too little money, or too much, which claimants then have to be pay back.”
Online help and information on tax credits renewals is available on GOV.UK or via HMRC’s customer service Twitter feed @HMRCcustomers.
HMRC has begun sending tax credits renewal packs to about 5.9 million households around the country. The packs are sent out from April to June in advance of the 31 July deadline.