If you have 2 or more children

Date last updated: 19 October 2017

Child tax credits if you have more than two children

The rules for claiming child tax credits have changed. You’ll be affected if you have two or more children already and you have another child born on or after 6th April 2017. If you already have more than two children and you receive child tax credits you will not be affected. You will only be affected if you have another child who is born on or after 6th April 2017.

Note: only child tax credits are affected. You can still claim child benefit for all your children, including children born on or after 6th April 2017. It’s still very important to tell HMRC about any new children you have, even if you don’t receive child tax credits for them. This will ensure that you receive any entitlements that your family may become eligible for in the future.

You can report the arrival of a new child in your family online or by telephone. Carefully check our advice below to see how you could be affected, and whether an exemption to this rule could apply to you.

Let HMRC know you have a new child

What is the new rule for child tax credits?

If you already have two or more children and you have another child born on or after 6th April 2017 you will not usually be able to claim child tax credits for that child, or any other children you have after this date. There are some exemptions to this rule. It’s very important to check your situation and see whether you could claim an exemption. Claiming an exemption means you can claim child tax credit for your new child born on or after 6thApril 2017 when you already have two or more children.

Are there exemptions to the rule?

There are exemptions if you already have two or more children and any of these situations apply to you:

  • you are having a child living with disabilities
  • you are adopting a child from local authority care
  • you become a friend or family carer
  • your child has a child and both live with you
  • you are having twins or another type of multiple birth
  • you have been raped and became pregnant
  • you were in a coercive or controlling relationship and became pregnant

I am having a child living with disabilities

If your new child born on or after 6th April has a disability and you already have two or more children you will usually not get the child element of tax credits for your new child but you will be able to claim the disabled or severely disabled element of tax credits for them. Please call our helpline for more advice on whether your child is likely to be eligible for these payments.

I am adopting a child from local authority care

There is an exemption if you are adopting a child. If you already have two or more children and adopt a child you will be able to claim child tax credit for the new child joining your family on or after 6th April 2017. Note: this exemption only applies when you adopt a child from local authority care, and not to overseas adoptions or the adoption of a step-child.

I am a friend or family carer

There is an exemption if you already have 2 or more children and then you start looking after a child who joins your household on or after 6th April 2017. If a court has not yet made an order making you legally responsible for the child you will need to send HMRC a form signed by a registered social worker. Call HMRC 0345 300 3900 to request the form. If you do have a court order or other official documents stating that the child lives with you, call the same number to request details on how to send this evidence and make a claim.

A child or young person in my household has a child

If you already have two or more children, and one of the children or young people you receive child tax credits for has a child on or after 6th April 2017, an exemption is available. An example of this is where your child becomes a parent, and they and their child live with you.

I am having twins, triplets, or more

If you already have two or more children and you then have twins or triplets – or any other multiple birth – there is an exemption for some of your children born on or after 6th April 2017. You cannot claim child tax credit for the first-born of your multiple birth, but you can claim for the other children born at the same time (the second-born twin, or the second and third-born triplets and so on).

I have become pregnant as a result of rape or an abusive relationship

The government call this a ‘non-consensual conception’ exemption.

If you have two or more children and then become pregnant as a result of being raped, you can claim an exemption and receive child tax credit for your child even though they were born on or after 6th April 2017.

You can also claim an exemption if you have two or more children and then you became pregnant with another child while you were in a relationship with someone who was controlling or coercing you.

The rules state that to claim this exemption you must not live with the father of the child you are claiming this exemption for.

Reporting a change in circumstances

You need to inform HMRC when your circumstances change, such as when you have a new baby, to make sure you're claiming the correct tax credits.

Visit HMRC's website

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