Last year, almost 1 in 3 parents lost out on money they should have had in Child Benefit because they didn’t know they had to reapply for their child benefit, or didn’t do it in time by the 31st August deadline.

We’ve said it many times and we genuinely mean it: the taxman is not your enemy. HMRC will never intentionally try to cheat you out of anything you’re entitled to. It will, however, occasionally leave the door open on an opportunity for you to cheat yourself.

If your child is still at school after GCSEs you're still entitled to Child Benefit

Take Child Benefit, for example. When your kid turns 16, HMRC reckons it’s a fully-grown adult. That means it’s expecting your precious little soldier to be out in the world, earning cash and paying tax. That’s the basic assumption the taxman works on, which is why many parents find their Child Benefit simply stopping at that point. The thing is, a lot of the time, that’s not what happens. Not everyone leaps out of school the first chance they get and dives into full-time employment. As a result, a lot of parents are losing their Child Benefit too early.

If your child stays on at school past the GCSE level, for instance, you’re still entitled to up to £20.70 a week in Child Benefit. The thing is, you won’t get that automatically unless you reapply for it.

What to do if you missed the deadline

Don’t panic if you’ve missed your shot, though. You can still get your application restarted, but you’ll have to do it within 3 months of the deadline and your payments will probably be delayed. Here’s how the system works:

  • For the first child who qualifies, you can get the full £20.70 a week.
  • For each additional eligible child, you can claim another £13.70 a week.
  • Your kids can qualify if they’re in full-time “approved education”, meaning A-levels (or equivalent), Scottish Highers, NVQs or vocational qualifications up to level 3, traineeships in England or home education (as long as they started it before turning 16).
  • Certain types of “Approved training” can also qualify for Child Benefit. Examples include Foundation Apprenticeships in England and Wales, Employability Fund programmes in Scotland and United Youth Pilot courses started before the 1st of June 2017.

You can keep claiming the benefit until your child turns 19. So far, it’s looking like around 200,000 parents aren’t getting what they should because they haven’t reapplied. Don’t let your cash vanish back into HMRC’s pockets. If you haven’t let them know you still qualify yet, get in touch soon to restart your application – and always come to RIFT with your tax questions, problems and worries.

If you haven't checked if you're due a tax refund yet, just answer 4 simple questions and we can let you know. You can also check out our tax rebate calculator to get an estimate of how much your rebate could be. Bringing up a family costs enough as it is, without having some of your hard earned cash sitting in the taxman's account instead of your own.