In the budget, Hunt announced changes to the high-income child benefit charge (HICBC).

From 6 April 2024, the HICBC only applies where the higher earning parent/guardian in a household has an adjusted net income of £60,000 or more. Basic rate taxpayers are once again safe from HICBC, but many higher rate taxpayers will be better off too.

The rate at which the HICBC claws back child benefits has also been halved. For the current tax year onwards, £1 of child benefit will be repayable for every £200 of income over the £60,000 threshold, so full clawback won’t apply until the higher earning parent or guardian’s income reaches £80,000.

You may have previously opted out of child benefit payments rather than deal with the HICBC but you should consider restarting your payments. Families who have never claimed child benefit should also consider doing so.

Child benefit provides financial support to families – the rates for the current tax year are £25.60 per week for the first child, and £16.95 for each additional child.

Child benefit also provides entitlement to state pension credits until the youngest child is 12 years old, which is especially valuable if a parent or guardian has little or no income of their own. Claiming child benefit also means the child will automatically be issued with a national insurance number at age 16.

Nearly half a million families could be better off because of these changes. Will you be one of them?

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