It should be noted that in 2006/2007 and earlier years, the disregard for rises in income was only £2,500 instead of £25,000.See our ‘understanding the disregards’ section for a fuller analysis of the consequences of this change from £2,500 to £25,000.

We understand that HMRC allowed some claimants slightly longer than 30 days to respond depending on when their letter was sent.

The other issue with the letter that HMRC sent out in March 2012 was the income limits stated in the letter were misleading.

Due to changes to the system, particularly the removal of the second income threshold, the number of people getting an auto-renewal fell.

However, since 2013/14 many more people are being moved from the reply required group to the auto-renewal group as a result of HMRC having access to Real Time Information data from employers and occupational pension providers.

Although the process is often referred to as the ‘renewals process’, not everyone will want or need to renew their claim.

Some people, for example where a joint claim ended in the tax year just ended, will need to finalise the old claim but will not be making a new claim. The renewals process The claim for the year just ended (current year) was based initially on the claimant’s circumstances for that year, and income for the year before (the previous year).

HMRC will normally send a set of papers (normally between April and June each year), and so long as the information requested is given within the time limits requested, the legislation treats the claim as having being made for the new tax year in most cases.

Outline of the process For the majority of claimants the process aims to do two things: to reconcile entitlement for the year just gone (the current year) with what has been paid; and to renew the tax credit claim for the coming year.

The renewal process for 2016/17 compares the actual income of 2016/17 with that for 2015/16 to fix the final entitlement for 2016/17, and uses the income figure for 2016/17 to fix the initial award for 2017/18.