Misleading high income child benefit charge letters issued

If your 2012/13 tax return showed business profits in excess of £50,000 you may well have received a letter from HMRC recently stating you need to amend your tax return including “You need to act now” in a red box.

The letters are badly worded and a number of the statements they make are misleading so you may not in fact need to amend your return.

Firstly, the letter states “you should have included the child benefit payments from 7 January 2013 to 5 April 2013 on your tax return” this is not the case if your partner/spouse was the higher earner, in this case it should go on their return.

Secoundly, the letter also states “you have to pay the tax charge” again, if your partner is the higher earner it’s them that has to pay.

Finally the letter omits to mention that there are certain things that should be deducted from your earnings before it is compared to the £50,000 figure, in particular, donations to charity using gift aid, pension contributions and trading losses.

The overall advice is contact your accountant before doing anything.